(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Figures of the past from the leaves of old journals"



1BBHHBH Kksi 

KM H ■ ■4* >"rtiT i* 





TWO.J^aa^^ 




E 
338 



RICKS COLLEGE LRC 



3 1404 00 016 689 9 



/ 






\ . 



Figure 



r 



AST 






jFrom tlje Ittim oi <©to Journals. 



DATE DUE 



m— &j&\§ 



MAR / 



iffi. 



t^n 







m 



m 



c 



mt 



8 



3 gm 

gj2 



43-54001 



■§-» 



tr 



hoz :s ^jjv 



CAVLORD 



PMINTCDINU.S.A. 



Copyright, 1383, 
By J. P. Quincy. 



ftrCntfta 
8. J. Parkhili. A Co., Boston, U. 8. A. 









*fi 






Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 
Brigham Young University-Idaho 



http://archive.org/details/figuresofpastfro01quin 



INTRODUCTION. 




TVTOT long ago I received an application from a 
New York editor to furnish a series of papers 
upon former men and things. For nearly sixty-four 
years it has been my habit to keep journals ; and it 
was suggested that extracts from these records, or the 
reminiscences they awakened, would be acceptable to 
the public. My impulse was promptly to decline 
the proposition. My authorship had been limited to 
railroad reports, occasional speeches, and pamphlets 
upon public measures ; and, weighted with nearly four- 
score years, I could not think of entering the lists of 
general letters. I was about to succumb to this em- 
barrassment when a friend, who had read my journals 
with interest, offered me his most valuable aid in 
what may be called the literary responsibilities of the 
undertaking. My narratives have gained in grace of 
expression as they passed beneath the correcting pen 
of my obliging critic, and I am confident that a stern 
exercise of his right of curtailing reflections and 






VI INTRODUCTION. 

omitting incidents has been no less for the reader's 
advantage. The first paper, as originally published, 
contained an explicit avowal of this indebtedness ; 
and it is right that I should repeat it still more em- 
phatically in allowing the series to be put in a per- 
manent form. 

It may be mentioned that William 0. McDowell, 
the proprietor of " Thoughts and Events," was the only 
begetter of these narratives, and that upon the dis- 
continuance of his journal they were fortunate enough 
to receive the hospitality of the " Independent." 

It has been my purpose that the papers should 
convey the contemporary impressions made by events 
and persons they describe, and that all imperfect 
memories or unauthenticated anecdotes should be 
distinctly so designated. 






The preceding Introduction was written by Mr. Quincy a 
few months before his death, and was left with the direction 
that it should be prefixed to the collection of these papers 
which Messrs. Roberts Brothers had desired to issue. A 
few omissions, made for the sake of brevity, have been re- 
stored in the present publication. The college class of the 
author is given on the titlepage to distinguish him from 
others of his family who have borne the same name. 



CONTENTS. 



PAOl 

A Puritan Academy 1 

Harvard Sixty Years Ago 16 

Commencement Day in 1821 49 

Reminiscences of the Second President 58 

Visits to John Adams 66 

Talks with John Adams 76 

The Old President in Public 86 

" Eclipse " against the World 96 

Lafayette in Boston 101 

Lafayette and Colonel Huger 110 

How Colonel Huger told the Story 119 

Lafayette on Bunker Hill 127 

Daniel Webster at Home 138 

Lafayette leaves Massachusetts 147 

The Duke of Saxe- Weimar and Captain Ryk . . . .157 

The Governor at Nantucket 174 

A Journey with Judge Story 188 

From New York to Washington 199 

Visits to John Randolph 209 

Randolph in the Senate 219 

Commodore Stockton 230 

The Supreme Court and the " Marianna Flora " . . 242 



• • • 



Vlll CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Washington Society in 1826 254 

The House of Representatives 280 

Through Baltimore to Boston 291 

The Reverend Clergy 302 

Some Pillars of the State 316 

Two Notable Women ... - 328 

Some Railroad Incidents 338 

Jackson in Massachusetts 352 

Joseph Smith at Nauvoo 376 



FIGURES OF THE PAST. 



A PURITAN ACADEMY. 

HAVE been asked to furnish for publication 
A sketches of events with which I have been con- 
nected, and of distinguished men whom I have had 
the privilege to know. It has been urged upon me 
that the journals I have kept these many years con- 
tain matter of historical interest. But these records 
were never intended for the printer, and the pic- 
tures their pages present to me would appear most 
imperfectly to others. My memory of the remoter 
past is singularly vivid, and for me these old journals 
contain far fuller narratives than any other reader 
could find written in them. As they begin with my 
second year in college, I must rely on my unaided 
recollection for notices of life at Phillips Academy. 
Fortunately the impressions of youth are cut so 
deeply upon the brain that written memoranda are 
unnecessary to revive them. 

The Academy at Andover was the first school in- 
corporated in New England; the act bearing the 

l 



2 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

date of October 4, 1780. It was founded by Judge 
Phillips, an eminent patriot and honored citizen. 
Like most of the best men of his day, he was a 
firm believer in the Westminster Catechism ; and he 
meant that posterity should believe it too, so far as 
the liberal endowments of himself and his family 
might conduce to that result. The town of Ando- 
ver, when I arrived there, nearly seventy years ago ? 
seemed a good way from home. Travelling in those 
days was slow and expensive. Postage upon a let- 
ter was twenty-five cents for every sheet it con- 
tained. Newspapers amounted to very little, and 
were not generally read. The remotest settlement 
of Kansas or Nebraska knows far more of the 
thought and feeling of the great world than Andu- 
ver then knew of Boston, which was only twenty 
miles off. In the Academy were two classes of 
scholars, — those whose expenses were paid by their 
parents, and " charity boys," as they were called, who 
were supported by certain funds controlled by a soci- 
ety for supplying the ministry with pious young can- 
didates. These were persons who, having reached 
manhood, had determined to enter the sacred profes- 
sion. They had served out an apprenticeship at some 
trade or in farming, and were generally uncouth in 
their manners and behavior. We, who were the real 
boys, never liked their sanctimonious demeanor. We 
claimed that they were spies, and shrank from them 
with all the disgust which their imaginary calling 
could not fail to excite. There were, however, two 
marked exceptions. One of them was William 



A PURITAN ACADEMY. 3 

Person. I remember once asking him how he got 
his name. He replied with some cynicism, " Why, I 
found myself in a tanyard, and nobody could tell who 
I was. All that seemed to be certain was that I was 
a person, — and so, from lack of any other, I took 
that name." This big boy was very popular, and we 
were proud of him as the finest writer in the school. 
The pet name, Pelly, by which he was universally 
known, was a contraction of Pelliparius, a signa- 
ture which he always affixed to his compositions, 
whether in prose or verse. The word in English 
would be written " Tanner," it being compounded of 
pellus, a hide, and pario, to finish. The history of this 
interesting young man was sad and romantic. He 
had been deserted by his parents, who were known 
to be persons of social importance, who desired to 
avoid the stigma of his illegitimate birth. For the 
first years of his life he had been permitted to attend 
a private school in Andover, where he showed re- 
markable aptitude for study. But in 1801, when he 
was eight years old, he was suddenly taken from 
school and apprenticed to a tanner in Providence. 
A cruel reason was given him for this step. He was 
told that he was altogether too promising, and that if 
he was allowed to grow up an educated man, he might 
take measures which would lead to the discovery of 
his birth. For thirteen years he was compelled to 
serve in this trade, and deprived of the education he 
so ardently desired. At the end of this time, finding 
himself his own master, he entered the Academy at 
Andover, — supporting himself by manual labor, with 



4 FIGUKES OF THB PAST. 

some trifling assistance from charitable funds. Per- 
son entered Harvard College in 1816, and was imme- 
diately distinguished for high scholarship. At one 
time he reached the highest rank in his class, — his 
close competitor for that honor being William G. 
Eeed from South Carolina. But the brilliant scholar 
was always struggling with poverty, though constantly 
working with brain and hands to provide the means 
for study. A man with whom he had business rela- 
tions deceived him ; college bills were presented for 
which there was no money to pay ; and Person sud- 
denly found himself compelled to leave Harvard. 
With despairing heart he took up his Livy to prepare 
for the last recitation that he could hope to attend ; 
but on opening the book a letter dropped from its 
leaves. It contained a hundred dollars, — a sum that 
was much larger at that time than at present ; and 
this had been collected by the efforts of his generous 
rival. It may be mentioned that Person ascertained 
beyond reasonable doubt the facts of his parentage, 
though he was never acknowledged by either father 
or mother. But the world had found him out, and a 
career of honor and usefulness seemed to be opening 
before him. Yet the sad and too familiar sequel to a 
youth of privation and effort was not to be avoided ; 
the seeds of consumption were suddenly developed, 
and Person died before completing his college 
course. No man could be more beloved than our 
gentle Pelly. His classmates erected a stone to his 
memory, which is still to be seen in the Cambridge; 
churchyard. It bears a long epitaph in Latin from 



A PURITAN ACADEMY. 5 

the pen of Eeed. The concluding words, "Plorat 
amissum praemature Scientia ; plorat Keligio ; plorat 
Amicitia," the old commonplaces of commemora- 
tion, simply expressed the feelings of those who were 
privileged to know this excellent man. 

The other big boy who was popular among us was 
the late Eev. Dr. E. M. P. Wells, — a clergyman of 
the Episcopal Church, well known in Boston, who has 
left a cherished memory as a devoted friend of the 
poor. Wells, who was always good whether as man 
or boy, did not choose to adopt a certain cant of 
piety which was supposed to be acceptable to the 
authorities of the school. He was the leader of our 
Demosthenian Society, which maintained a vigorous 
opposition to the Social Fraternity, an association 
which represented the bluest type of New England 
orthodoxy. Indeed, Wells was so little of a puritan 
that he once took part in a theatrical performance 
which, to the great scandal of the saints, was gotten 
up among the boys. The fact that the principal of 
the school, Mr. Adams, was confined to his room by 
a six weeks' fit of sickness, had encouraged us to 
attempt this profane exhibition. I remember that 
Wells, who personated a king who took advanced 
views of the responsibilities of the royal office, was 
at much pains to prepare a crown which was worthy 
to surmount the head of so exemplary a monarch. 
An affair of pasteboard, painted yellow and cut into 
high peaks, was no doubt striking, but yet seemed 
hardly worthy of the character. Finally, however, 
the player-king bethought himself of a certain neck- 



FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

lace of gold beads such as was much worn at that 
period. This was borrowed, taken apart, and a bead 
deftly sewed upon every point and angle of this 
round and top of sovereignty. Those who remember 
the majestic figure of Dr. Wells -in his surplice can 
supply the noble presence which filled his royal 
robes ; while his crown seemed to us a bit of realism 
so perfect that imagination could scarcely add any- 
thing to the make-up of the part. It is necessary to 
confess that I, in the character of a pestilent Jacobin, 
was at the head of a plot looking to the assassina- 
tion of this model governor. The fatal instrument I 
was to use was no other than a knife with a broken 
point, employed by Mr. Adams to cut up his pigs. 
This did very well for the first representations; but, 
unluckily, it occurred to somebody that the report of 
a real pistol, which might be discharged behind the 
scenes, would be a more impressive mode of vacating 
the throne. Alas, the report of that pistol reached 
the ears of the authorities, and our actors were scat- 
tered as summarily as Puck scattered the Athenian 
mechanics from the scene of their innocent rehearsal. 
But if good Dr. Wells then lost his theatrical crown, 
it may be safely said that when he closed his useful 
life of fourscore years, the better crown of the Chris- 
tian hero awaited him. 

We had come to Andover to get religion, and the 
pursuit of this object was seldom interfered with by 
such episodes as the one just related. During the 
first years of my stay we were taken to worship in 
the church of the town, which was supported by a 



A PURITAN ACADEMY. 7 

tax laid upon all citizens. What the winter services 
were in that old meeting-house no description can 
reproduce. The building was in decay, and the win- 
dows rattled with every blast. There was no pre- 
tence of stove or furnace, and the waters of life, which 
were dispensed from the pulpit, froze to solid ice be- 
fore they reached us. There were, to be sure, a few 
pans of ignited charcoal, which the sexton carried to 
certain old ladies of great respectability, and which 
were supposed to impart some warmth to their ven- 
erable feet. But this luxury was never provided for 
the voting sex ; and boys, as a matter of course, re- 
ceived their ghostly instruction with the chill on. 
We muffled ourselves up in comforters, as if to go a 
sleigh ride, and shivered through the long services, 
warmed only by such flickering flames of devotion 
as they were calculated to kindle. The vivid de- 
scriptions of those sultry regions to which the vast 
majority of the human race were hastening lost some- 
thing of the terror they were meant to excite. If we 
could only approach the quarters of the condemned 
near enough to get thoroughly warmed through, the 
broad road that led to them might gain an additional 
attraction. The boys were required to remember the 
text, as well as the heads of the discourse, and were 
duly examined thereupon the next day. My own 
memory was good, — so good, indeed, that some of 
those sermons stick there yet. And they were not 
difficult to remember either; for, give the preacher 
his premises, and let him start his machine of formal 
logic, and the conclusions ground themselves out with 



8 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

unerring certainty. An exception to this rule was 
found in the doctrine of election as not inconsistent 
with individual freedom. This was a craggy theme 
with which the Andover divines were accustomed 
to grapple with great spirit. They certainly showed, 
or appeared to show, that we were perfectly free to 
choose a destiny which, nevertheless, had been abso- 
lutely decreed beforehand ; but the reasoning which 
dissolved this formidable paradox was altogether too 
subtle for the youthful brain to follow. 

A report of an occasional sermon may give some 
idea of the gallant style in which the Andover min- 
isters faced sin — or what seemed to them sin — 
under difficulties. It happened that a proposition 
to teach dancing in the town had been made by 
some rash professor of that accomplishment. Un- 
der this visitation there was clearly but one subject 
for the next Sunday's discourse. The good minister 
rose in the pulpit fully armed for the encounter ; 
but he was not the man to take unfair advantages. 
The adversary should be allowed every point which 
seemed to make in his favor. In pursuance of 
this generous design, a text was given out which 
certainly did seem a little awkward in view of the 
deductions which must be drawn from it. It was 
taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes, and was an- 
nounced with unflinching emphasis, " There is a time 
to dance." The preacher began by boldly facing the 
performance of King David, 

""When before the Ark 
His grand pas seul excited some remark ! " 



A PUKITAN ACADEMY. 9 

But, notwithstanding the record, we were assured 
that David did not dance. A reference to the original 
Hebrew made it plain that " he took no steps." All 
he did was to jump up and down in a very innocent 
manner, and it was evident that this required no pro- 
fessional instruction. And now, having disposed of 
the example of the father, the way was clear to take 
up the assertion of Solomon that there was a time 
to dance. Were this the case, it were pertinent to 
consider what that time might be. Could a man find 
time to dance before he was converted ? To ask 
such a question as that was to answer it. The ter- 
rible risks to which the unregenerate were exposed, 
and the necessity that was upon them to take sum- 
mary measures for their avoidance, clearly left no time 
for dancing. And how was it with a man while he 
was being converted ? Overwhelmed with the sense 
of sin, and diligently seeking the remedy, it was sim- 
ply preposterous to imagine that he could find time 
for dancing. And how was it with the saints who 
had been converted ? Surely such time as they had 
must be spent in religious exercises for the conver- 
sion of others ; obviously they had no time to dance. 
And so the whole of human life had been covered, 
and the conclusion was driven home with resistless 
force. What time for dancing Solomon might have 
had in mind it was unnecessary to inquire, for it was 
simply demonstrable that he could not have referred 
to any moment of the time allotted to man on this 
earth. After this discourse it is needless to say that 
no dancing-master showed his face in Andover during 
my acquaintance with the town. 



10 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

But if it shall happen that I speak freely of forms 
which have no longer the spiritual meaning that once 
filled them, I must also emphasize the fact that a 
stern pressure towards morality was characteristic of 
the school. Emulation was abandoned because it 
appealed to lower motives than Christians should en- 
tertain, and the phrase " unhallowed ambition " was 
applied to the pursuit of excellence for any selfish 
end. A society for the cultivation of the moral vir- 
tues, composed of candidates for the Divinity Depart- 
ment and some of the smaller boys, existed in the 
school, and a pledge to abstain from intoxicating 
liquors was exacted from its members. 

During the six years I spent in Andover there 
were several revivals of religion. The master be- 
lieved in their utility and did everything in his power 
to encourage them. We had prayer-meetings before 
school, after school, and in recess, and a strong influ- 
ence was exerted to make us attend them. I am 
tempted to give a little circumstance in this connec- 
tion because it shows the absolute sincerity with 
which our teachers held their religious views. One 
summer's day, after a session of four hours, the mas- 
ter dismissed the school in the usual form. jSTo 
sooner had he done so than he added, " There will 
now be a prayer-meeting: those who wish to lie 
down in everlasting burning may go ; the rest will 
stay." It is probable that a good many boys wanted 
to get out of doors. Two of them only had the au- 
dacity to rise and leave the room. One of those 
youngsters has since been known as an eminent 



A PURITAN ACADEMY. 11 

Doctor of Divinity ; the other was he who now relates 
the incident. But no sooner was the prayer-meeting 
over than Mr. Adams sought me out, asked pardon 
for the dreadful alternative he had presented, and 
burst into a flood of tears. He said with deep emo- 
tion that he feared that I had committed the unpar- 
donable sin and that he had been the cause. His 
sincerity and faith were most touching ; and his man- 
liness in confessing his error and asking pardon from 
his pupil makes the record of the occurrence an honor 
to his memory. 

The War of 1812 put a stop to navigation and 
compelled all transfers of property to be made by 
wagons. It was said to cost six thousand dollars 
to transport a piece of ordnance from New York to 
Buffalo. A great number of teams bearing produce 
from Vermont and New Hampshire, and smuggled 
goods from Canada, passed through Andover. In the 
absence of mercantile news, the arrival of these wag- 
ons was announced under the head of " Horse-marine 
news." One of the humors of the war was an amus- 
ing parody upon the " Mariners of England " entitled 
the " Wagoners of Freedom," a ditty of which I can 
still repeat several verses. These teamsters had, how- 
ever, adopted one article of the sailors' faith that was 
by no means acceptable to the people of Andover. 
They held that " there was no Sunday off soundings," 
and continued their progress on that day greatly to 
the scandal of the righteous town. It was plain that 
the law must be enforced, and accordingly tithing- 
men lay in wait on Sunday at the tavern, and at the 



12 FIGUKES OF THE PAST. 

corners of the public roads. They succeeded in stop- 
ping the heavy teams, but horsemen and light car- 
riages slipped through their fingers. But a way was 
soon devised to meet this difficulty. A deacon was 
joined to the tithing-men the very next Sunday, and 
the party were put in command of the toll-gate, about 
a mile out of the town on the road leading to Boston. 
It was known about the school that a trap had been 
set which no Sunday traveller could hope to escape, 
and great was the interest in waiting for a victim. 
At length a gentleman driving a fine horse passed 
along the street, and, all unconscious of his fate, pro- 
ceeded towards the toll-gate. The excitement was 
now intense, for we expected to see him brought back 
by the deacon in ignominious captivity. But the 
spectators were disappointed, for this part of the pro- 
gramme was not carried out. In what wonderful 
way the traveller had managed to elude the deacon 
and his guard we could not divine. The return of the 
party at sunset brought the explanation, and a dole- 
ful tale of depravity passed from mouth to mouth. 
It appeared that the gentleman had been duly 
stopped at the toll-gate and informed that he could 
go no farther. But instead of showing the indigna- 
tion which his captors had expected, he expressed 
himself as delighted to find that Andover was bent 
on enforcing the admirable Sunday laws, and had 
selected agents so prompt and capable as to preclude 
all chance of their evasion. "But the law, gentle- 
men," he went on to say, " as you well know, ex- 
cepts those who travel upon errands of necessity or 



A PURITAN ACADEMY. 13 

mercy ; and I assure you that my mother is lying 
dead in Boston." Upon this statement the gate was 
reluctantly opened, and the traveller allowed to pro- 
ceed. But no sooner was he fairly out of danger 
than he reined in his horse and delivered himself 
of these heartless words : " Good-by, Deacon ; tell 
the busy bodies of Andover that my mother is lying 
dead in Boston, — and you may add, if you like, 
that she has been lying dead there for ike last 
twenty years ! " 

It need not be said that this occurrence was im- 
proved, as the text of a lecture to the boys on the sin 
of prevarication, which is, perhaps, the reason why I 
remember it so vividly. A short time after this, 
another attempt to enforce the Sunday law was much 
talked of in the town. One Sabbath morning, a hack 
containing four gentlemen drove through the place 
and took the road to Salem. The deacon and a tith- 
ing-man, who were again on the alert, stopped the 
carriage, and ordered the passengers to return to the 
tavern. As there was no toll-gate in the way this time, 
the travellers irreverently consigned the ecclesiastical 
functionaries to hot quarters, and commanded their 
driver to whip up and go on. This greatly exasper- 
ated the deacon and his companion, who, considering 
that the arrest of such hardened offenders was un- 
doubtedly a work of necessity and mercy, hired a 
light carriage and gave pursuit. But a stern chase, 
as the sailors say, is apt to be a long chase, and the 
hack kept on till it reached Salem, where the pur- 
suers felt certain of making a capture. And this 



14 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

might have been effected had the parties stopped at 
any tavern or house, as it was reasonable to suppose 
that they would. But, unhappily, on went the hack 
till it reached the end of the wharf. Here the pas- 
sengers jumped out, sprang into a boat that was in 
waiting, and were instantly rowed to a frigate which 
was lying in the harbor, — their would-be captors 
gazing after them in mute consternation. As it did 
not seem quite prudent for an Andover deacon to at- 
tempt the arrest of officers on board a man-of-war, 
there was nothing to be done but to retrace a tedious 
journey, and to submit to such chaff as a heartless 
world bestows upon unsuccessful attempts to make it 
better. 

It was provided that every pupil at the Academy 
should be taught to sing, and a special master was 
kept to train us in an accomplishment which was 
held to be of the first importance in the next world, 
if not in this. English literature was presented in 
the sober guise of "Vincent's Explanations of the 
Westminster Catechism/' and " Mason on Self- Knowl- 
edge," and from each of these books we were required 
to recite once a week. The sole work of imagination 
tolerated by the authorities was the " Pilgrim's Prog- 
ress." There was, nevertheless, an awful rumor, 
only to be mentioned under one's breath, that Dr. 
Porter, professor of rhetoric in the divinity schools, 
had upon his shelves the writings of a person called 
William Shakespeare, a play-actor, whose literary 
productions were far from edifying. I mention this 
scandal, not as asserting its truth ; it may be one 



A PURITAN ACADEMY. 15 

more specimen of those reckless stories boys will get 
up about their betters. 

But I must pause in my recollections of Andover, 
or there will be no end to them. What has been 
said has been given from a pupil's point of view. 
They are simply the salient points which happen to 
stick in a boy's memory. They are not to be mis- 
taken for an estimate of the worth of the institution, 
or of the work done by the good and honorable men 
who conducted it 



HAEVAED SIXTY YEAES AGO. 



i 



I. 



N the summer of 1871 a few old men who had 
entered Harvard College together in 1817 met 
to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of their 
graduation. Some of them had met annually in 
Cambridge for half a century, and this was to be 
their last class-meeting. The memories of early 
times were revived, pleasant passages of college life 
were recounted, and the hearts of the survivors were 
lighted up in gratitude for being permitted to come 
together to take a solemn farewell. More than half 
of those who were present at that last class-meeting 
have since gone. The few that remain are daily 
awaiting the summons to follow, and any moment 
it may be too late to hear from living lips an account 
of life at Harvard sixty years ago. 

Two only of my classmates can be fairly said to 
have got into history, although one of them, Charles 
W. Upham, has written history very acceptably. 
Ealph Waldo Emerson and Eobert W. Barnwell, for 
widely different reasons, have caused their names to 
be known to well-informed Americans. Of Emer- 
son, I regret to say, there are few notices in my jour- 
nals. Here is the sort of way in which I speak of 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 17 

the man who was to make so profound an impression 
upon the thought of his time : " I went to the chapel 
to hear Emerson's dissertation : a very good one, 
but rather too long to give much pleasure to the 
hearers." The fault, I suspect, was in the hearers; 
and another fact which I have mentioned goes to 
confirm this belief. It seems that Emerson accepted 
the duty of delivering the poem on Class Day, after 
seven others had been asked who positively refused. 
So it appears that, in the opinion of this critical class, 
the author of the " Wood Notes " and the " Humble 
Bee " ranked about eighth in poetical ability. It can 
only be because the works of the other seven have 
been " heroically unwritten," that a different impres- 
sion has come to prevail in the outside world. But if, 
according to the measurement of undergraduates, 
Emerson's ability as a poet was not conspicuous, it 
must also be admitted that, in the judgment of per- 
sons old enough to know better, he was not credited 
with that mastery of weighty prose which the world 
has since accorded him. In our senior year the 
higher classes competed for the Boylston prizes for 
English composition. Emerson and I sent in our 
essays with the rest, and were fortunate enough to 
take the two prizes ; but — alas for the infallibility 
of academic decisions ! — Emerson received the sec- 
ond prize. I was of course much pleased with the 
award of this intelligent committee; and should 
have been still more gratified had they mentioned 
that the man who was to be the most original and 
influential writer born in America was my unsuc- 



18 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

cessful competitor. But Emerson, incubating over 
deeper matter than was dreamt of in the established 
philosophy of elegant letters, seems to have given no 
sign of the power that was fashioning itself for lead- 
ership in a new time. He was quiet, unobtrusive, 
and only a fair scholar according to the standard of 
the college authorities. And this is really all I have 
to say about my most distinguished classmate. Let 
us be merciful to the companions of the deer-stealer 
of Stratford, that it never occurred to them to take 
notes of his early sayings for the benefit of posterity. 

The first scholar of the class was Barnwell, of 
South Carolina, a noble specimen of the Southerner, 
high-spirited, interesting, and a leader of men. It 
was said that, when he left college, he told Upham, 
who was his most intimate friend among Northerners, 
that he would undergo perpetual imprisonment to 
free his State from the curse of slavery. I cannot 
vouch for the authenticity of this story ; I know only 
that it was current at the time. Language scarcely 
less strong had been used by Jefferson and other 
representative Southern men. But the set of the tide 
was the other way, and Barnwell became a leader 
in the great rebellion which resulted in emancipation. 
He was a Senator of the United States before the 
war and of the Confederate States during the whole 
of their existence. He takes a firm grasp upon his- 
tory as chairman of that extraordinary committee that 
came to Washington to agree upon a division of the 
property which had once belonged to the United 
States ! The letter to the President, which Buchanan 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 19 

had the spirit to return, was probably of his draught- 
ing. At all events his name leads the others, and 
will always stand there to awaken the interest of 
future students of our American annals. 

One other of my classmates attained distinguished 
political office. This was Edward Kent, who was 
our Minister to Brazil, and Governor of the State of 
Maine. Certainly these are offices which it must 
have required a good deal of activity to obtain if 
not to hold. Yet in college the future Governor had 
so little of the quick movemeDts of the politician, 
that he was known as the " President of the Lazy 
Club." This was said to be the highest distinction 
in an imaginary association whose members were 
pledged to spare themselves all unnecessary exertion. 
The story ran that Kent was one day seen running 
across the college yard, and that a meeting of the 
club had been called to consider this outrageous con- 
duct on the part of their President, and to learn what 
defence he might find to offer. The report continued 
that Kent acknowledged the truth of the aocusation, 
but drew himself up with an air of offended innocence 
and put in this pathetic defence : " Brethren of the 
Lazy Club, do not condemn me unheard. I was 
standing in perfect quietness on the steps of Hol- 
worthy, when some villain came behind me and gave 
me a push. That was the way I got started; and 
I kept going on and on, because the fact was that 1 
was too lazy to stop." The speech was probably as 
fictitious as those which the Roman historians were 
in the habit of composing for their heroes. Its cur- 



20 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

rency as a college story illustrates the general feeling 
as to what Governor Kent ought to have said under 
the given circumstances. 

One day early in November, 1818, I find a dry 
twig pasted upon the leaf of my journal and under- 
neath this inscription : " Eesistance to tyrants is obe- 
dience to God. This twig was my badge; all the 
class tore them from the Eebellion Tree, and agreed 
to wear them in their bosoms." The rough and 
unmannerly proceedings which characterized this 
memorable outbreak have long since ceased to be 
possible in first-class colleges. Boarding in Commons 
was at that time compulsory, and the freshmen and 
sophomores were fed in two large halls which were 
separated by folding doors. These portals were gener- 
ally kept carefully locked and bolted ; but, one Sun- 
day evening, they had unhappily been left open. 
Taking advantage of this circumstance, some sopho- 
more threw a plate into the quarters of the freshmen. 
It was promptly returned ; every one started up from 
the tables ; and a hot and furious battle commenced. 
Cups, saucers, and dishes were used as missiles, and 
the total destruction of the crockery belonging to the 
college was the result. Of course it was necessary 
for the government to take notice of such an outrage 
as this ; and it was soon announced that five of my 
classmates were suspended and must leave the town. 
Two of these victims were from New York, two from 
South Carolina, and one from Massachusetts. The 
students selected happened to be very popular, and 
it seemed to us unjust that they alone should be 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 21 

punished for an offence of which so many others were 
equally guilty. Accordingly we followed them out 
of Cambridge with shouts and cheers, and, on return- 
ing, assembled about the Kebellion Tree and awaited 
results. After a little time the President's freshman 
came upon the scene, and summoned Adams, Otis, 
and myself to appear at once in his study. Dr. 
Kirkland told us that he was a good friend of our 
fathers, and wished to get us out of mischief ; he must 
accordingly advise us to leave town for the present, 
and should command us at our peril not to return to 
the tree. Under the excitement which ruled the hour, 
we promptly went back to the rendezvous ; and 
Adams, who was appointed our spokesman, addressed 
the assembly in a vigorous speech. I happen to re- 
member the climax of his remarks : " Gentlemen, we 
have been commanded, at our peril, not to return to 
the Rebellion Tree : at our peril we do return!" This 
morsel of defiance seemed to us to have as fine a ring 
as the famous, " Sink or swim, live or die, survive or 
perish," which Daniel Webster subsequently attrib- 
uted to the grandfather of the speaker. The applause 
was immense, and we voted to remain in session all 
day, and to absent ourselves from all college exer- 
cises. Even the rain which soon began to descend 
was powerless to disperse us; for we adjourned in 
force to the great porch which then stood in front of 
University Hall. The end of it was that there was 
a new crop of rustications and suspensions ; and this 
burlesque of patriots struggling with tyrants gradu- 
ally played itself out, and came to an end. But the 



22 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

events of that fervid time impressed themselves so 
deeply upon us, that, when " the great rebellion " is 
spoken of, my first thought is that the allusion must 
be, not to Charles I. and the Puritans, nor yet to 
the American colonists and England, but to that 
magnificent protest against oppression that was made 
at Harvard College sixty-three years ago. 

Perhaps the reader will like to see how two men 
who afterwards achieved the highest distinction in 
letters appeared to a college student before whom 
they lectured. Here is what I find recorded of the 
eminent historian of Spanish literature. "In the 
evening I attended Ticknor's lecture, which was 
most beautiful and delightful, and on a subject as 
dry as possible. He explained to us on the map 
how languages progressed, and what was their origin. 
There is something very pleasing in his style and 
delivery, and he introduced figures very appropriately. 
But independently of this, there is a melody in his 
voice truly delightful. When describing the softness 
and beauty of the Provencal, it seemed as if he spoke 
in that delicious language. When he said of St. 
Louis, 'whether he desired his canonization or not, 
he certainly was one of the truest patriots, one of 
the bravest knights, and one of the noblest gentlemen 
who ever lived,' it seemed as though his eulogy was 
complete. Those words seemed to express all that 
was virtuous, lovely, and honorable, so that no addi- 
tion could be made to his character." 

A far greater orator than Professor Ticknor — one 
to whose matchless eloquence I shall hereafter find 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 23 

occasion to refer — is disposed of with all the confi- 
dence of a critic in his teens : " Attended Everett's 
first lecture, and was not so much pleased as I ex- 
pected to be. He is not eloquent or interesting, and 
is rather given to egotism ; however, by his prolixity 
we gained a miss from Farrar for the fourth time 
this term. This was much to the gratification of the 
class, who in general hate his. branch though they 
like him." Professor Farrar' s unpopular branch 
was the mathematics, which then as now was attrac- 
tive to only a small minority of the students. There 
were no electives in those days, and our tastes were 
not consulted in the selection of studies. 



II. 



Harvard College, at the time of which I am 
writing, was very different from the noble university 
which at present bears the old name. Some students 
entered at twelve years of age, though fifteen was 
nearer the average among those whose parents were 
well off. We were treated as boys, and not without 
reason. The law declared that we must not go to 
Boston without permission, or pass a night away from 
Cambridge without a special license from the authori- 
ties. Moreover, in the early part of 1819, the Presi- 
dent, in behalf of the corporation, promulgated a 
statute to the effect that a fine of ten dollars would 



24 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

be exacted from every student who was caught at 
the theatre, while five dollars must be paid by any 
one who attended a party in Boston. But it is proba- 
ble that the corporation made no attempt to carry 
out the system of espionage which their savage edict 
seemed to necessitate. We certainly used to go to 
the theatre and to parties with some freedom, and 
seldom got into difficulty from doing so. 

But there were natural impediments to leaving 
Cambridge, which would have astonished the pam- 
pered young gentlemen who are now complaining 
that a horse-car every three minutes does not furnish 
suitable communication with the metropolis, and de- 
mand an elevated railroad to give them their full 
rights in this particular. We knew but a morning 
and evening stage. At nine and at two o'clock, 
Morse, the stage-driver, drew up in the college 
yard, and performed upon a tin horn to notify us 
of his arrival. He was a great hero among the stu- 
dents, for coachmen have some mysterious charm 
about them which wins the regard of young gentle- 
men in their teens. Those who went to Boston in 
the evening were generally forced to walk. It was 
possible, to be sure, to hire a chaise of Jemmy Eeed 
(who held the same place that Hobson did in the 
Cambridge of Milton), yet his horses were expensive 
animals, and he was very particular in satisfying him- 
self of the undoubted credit of those to whom he let 
them. And it was probably well for us that we were 
so often compelled to resort to the primitive means of 
locomotion ; for the necessity of regular exercise for 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 25 

students was unrecognized at the time, and such as 
we obtained was taken very irregularly and with 
some end in view. There was a favorite summer 
walk to Sweet Auburn, which was then as Nature 
made it ; and when the skies were perfectly favorable 
we consented to avail ourselves of its attractions. 
This beautiful piece of country was afterwards christ- 
ened Mount Auburn, and became the first garden- 
cemetery in the country. 

There were some half-a-dozen houses on the avenue 
leading from the colleges to Sweet Auburn ; they had 
been built before the Eevolution, and were abandoned 
by their tory proprietors. The largest and most con- 
spicuous was the fine mansion which had been the 
headquarters of Washington, and which has since 
gained additional interest as the residence of the poet 
Longfellow. It was then occupied by Mrs. Craigie, 
the widow of a gentleman very notable in his day. 
He had made a large fortune by buying up govern- 
ment promises, and by other speculations during the 
Eevolution. He kept a princely bachelor's establish- 
ment at the old house, and was in the habit of exer- 
cising a generous hospitality. A curious story relating 
to his marriage was current among his contemporaries, 
and there can be now no harm in giving it as I have 
heard it from their lips. 

A great garden party had been given by Mr. 
Craigie, and all the fashion and beauty of Boston 
were assembled in his spacious grounds. The day 
was perfect, the entertainment was lavish, and the 
company were bent on enjoying themselves. Smiles 



26 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

and deference met the host upon every side, and new- 
comers were constantly arriving to pay that homage 
to wealth and sumptuous liberality which from im- 
perfect mortals they have always elicited. " Craigie ! " 
exclaimed an intimate friend to the host during one 
of the pauses of compliment, " what can man desire 
that you have not got ? Here are riches, friends, a 
scene of enchantment like this, and you the master 
of them all ! " " I am the most miserable of men ! " 
was the startling reply. " If you doubt it, you shall 
know my secret : do you see those two young ladies 
just turning down the walk? Well, they are both 
engaged, and with one of them I am desperately in 
love." There was no time for more, for the crowd 
again surged round the host, and the friend was left 
to meditate upon the revelation which had been made. 
One of the ladies who had been pointed out was a 
great beauty of the time, and it so happened that 
Mr. Craigie's confidant was on very intimate terms 
with her family. It w T as well known that the match 
she was about to make did not gratify the ambitious 
views of her relations. Now whether Mr. Craigie's 
friend betrayed his secret to the father of this young 
person cannot certainly be known ; but the current 
report was that he did so. At all events, shortly 
after the garden party, he broke in upon the Croe- 
sus of Cambridge with an exultant air, exclaiming, 
" Craigie, I have come to tell you glorious news ; 
the coast is clear ; Miss has broken off her en- 
gagement ! " u Why, what the deuce is that to me ? " 
was the disappointing reply. " Good heavens, man, 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 27 

don't you remember telling me that you were des- 
perately in love with one of the young ladies you 
pointed out at the garden party ? " " To be sure I 
did," sighed Mr. Craigie, "but unfortunately I re- 
ferred to the other young lady." 

Now there is a fallacy of which logicians warn us, 
and which they designate as the fallacy of post hoc, 
ergo propter hoc. Bearing this in mind, it seems quite 
clear that the disclosure that was made respecting 
the supposed state of Mr. Craigie's affections had 
nothing whatever to do with the dissolution of the 
young lady's engagement. It was undoubtedly only 
one of those queer coincidences which seem to con- 
nect events that have really no connection with one 
another. And this is the more probable because 
another of these strange freaks of chance is found 
in the sequel of the story. For it happened — or 
was said to have happened — that " the other young 
lady" subsequently found good reason to break off 
her engagement, and, as Mrs. Craigie, came to pre- 
side over all future garden parties. But this climax 
to the tale was perhaps added by some unscrupulous 
narrator. Indeed it seems to bear on its face an 
improbability which gives evidence of fabrication. 
It only shows that gossip was busy with this fine 
old mansion long before it was known as the resi- 
dence of Mr. Longfellow, and that we, old college 
boys, found something to talk about as we strode 
past it on our way to Sweet Auburn. 

I have said that the decrees of the corporation did 
not prevent us from going to the theatre ; but if I 



28 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

am to tell the whole truth, I fear it must be acknowl- 
edged that they actually added a zest to that forbid- 
den enjoyment. For there is a good deal of human 
nature in the familiar story of the gentleman who, 
being very fond of pork, protested that fate had been 
cruel to him in not so arranging matters as to have 
caused him to be born a Jew, — "for then," said he, 
" I should have had the pleasure of eating pork and 
of sinning at the same time." The latter delight, 
whatever it may have amounted to, the authorities 
of Andover and of Harvard College had taken good 
care that we should have in connection with all scenic 
representations. There was but one theatre in Bos- 
ton, and performances were held three days in the 
week. The box office was opened only on the day 
of the play, and a battle often occurred in the efforts 
of the crowd to reach the window from which tickets 
were dispensed. Morse, the stage-driver, was our 
champion upon these occasions, and we waited his 
return with eagerness to know how the fight had 
gone, and what spoils he had brought us from the 
box office. 

My freshman year was marked by the appearance 
of Incledon, in what were then called operas, that is 
to say, plays of which two thirds were dialogue and 
the rest song. In one of these performances he in- 
troduced his famous song, " The Bay of Biscay," and 
I well remember the storm of enthusiasm which tes- 
tified to the wonderful pathos he threw into the earlier 
stanzas, and to the triumphant vigor of its conclusion. 
In those days demands for repetition and summons 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 29 

before the curtain had not degenerated into the un- 
meaning and annoying conventionalities they have 
since become. They were seldom given, and when 
bestowed carried a real compliment to the performer. 
Incledon, appeared in answer to the call ; but, instead 
of the impassioned instrument of the superb vocaliza- 
tion to which we had listened, he stood before us as 
the exhausted old man he really was. " Ladies and 
gentlemen," said he, " it is impossible for any man to 
repeat that song without intermission." The wearied 
tone and fatigued attitude of the veteran were very 
touching ; it was a striking change from the pathos 
of art to the pathos of nature. Yet it is humiliating 
to confess that my vivid remembrance of the circum- 
stance is probably in part owing to the advantage 
that was taken of it by Bray, the comic actor of the 
day. For in the farce which succeeded the main 
performance he introduced one of those audacious 
" gags " which Shakespeare's good advice to his 
clowns, " to speak no more than is set down for 
them," has not succeeded in banishing from the 
stage. A popular song of the day, called "The Old 
Jackdaw and the Young Jackdaw," had been sung 
by Bray, who interrupted the applause with which 
it was greeted by suddenly assuming the manner of 
Incledon, and declaring to the audience with the 
utmost gravity that it was beyond the power of 
any mortal to repeat the song to which they had 
just listened. The peals of laughter which this sally 
occasioned ring in my ears yet. The incident serves 
to show how the nonsense of a buffoon may linger 



30 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

in the memory, after so many of the words of wis- 
dom which the Harvard professors uttered are wholly 
effaced. 

I will conclude my college experiences of the 
theatre by copying my impressions of Edmund Keau, 
as they are recorded in the journal of my senior year. 
" My father came for me and took me to the theatre 
to see Kean as Richard Third, and never until then 
had I any idea of acting. He is small, ugly, and 
voiceless ; and yet his talents covered all defects. 
The parts with which I was most pleased were the 
courtship of Lady Anne, the tent scene, and the 
death. His long pauses have great effect. Some- 
times he paused two minutes by the stop-watch ; 
but his countenance spoke all the time. A dropped 
pin might have been heard all over the house. I 

sat in the same box with Miss S , who talked 

in a most unprecedented manner, for she asked me 
more questions and said more in two minutes than 
she ever did before in two days. My hearing Kean 
will always be remembered by me to my last day, 
and hereafter when other actors fill the station he 
now occupies, I shall remark on their inferiority to 
him, and may also, with the garrulity of age, describe 
the superior beauty of the ladies of the present day 
when their granddaughters shall be belles in their 
stead. Nothing reminds us of the flight of time so 
much as taking the present moment, and anticipating 
what will be our emotions when we look back upon 
it from a distance." 

As there is little to add to this sage proposition, I 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 31 

will conclude by mentioning one annoying sequel of 
our visits to the city, which readers of the present 
day will find it hard to understand. The difficulty 
of getting a light with numb fingers, on a cold night, 
was a petty misery of life which has long been un- 
known. In vain were the flint and steel clashed 
together ; too often it happened that no available 
spark was the result. The tinder, which we made 
from old shirts, would absorb dampness in spite of 
all precautions to keep it dry. Sometimes after 
shivering for half an hour, during our efforts to kin- 
dle it, we were forced to go to bed in the dark in 
a condition of great discomfort, and feeling that we 
had purchased our amusement at an extravagant 
cost. 



III. 



I make the following extract from my journal of 
July 7, 1820 : — 

"After breakfast the College Company went to 
town accompanied by the full band. We marched 
through a great number of the dustiest and dirtiest 
streets. At last we arrived at Chestnut Street, 
where we partook of a most splendid collation at the 
house of General Sumner. We were received in a 
room in which there were all kinds of refreshments, 
and ladies among other things. This gave it a very 
genteel effect, though none were remarkably hand- 



32 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

some except Misses S and B . After parad- 
ing before the house, we went to the Common, and 
then to Mr. Gray's, where we got good drink. From 
there we went to State Street, and after performing 
a variety of evolutions,, we dined at the Washington 
Garden, where toasts, songs, etc., abounded. This be- 
ing finished, we returned to Cambridge, where, won- 
derful to relate, the President gave us a treat, and we 
were dismissed. The day was exceptionally hot, and 
we all perspired in glory. I drank an enormous quan- 
tity, to say nothing of what I eat, and finished my 
exploits with hasty pudding and molasses at the 
club." 

After this, the next day's entry is not surprising : 
" Stayed at home to recruit after our labors." 

The Harvard Washington Corps, one of whose 
excursions is chronicled above, was composed of 
students of the two higher classes, but was officered 
exclusively by seniors. It was very popular among 
the undergraduates, though by no means approved by 
the older friends of the college. To hold a command 
in the company was considered a great distinction, 
and there was much rivalry among candidates. There 
was one condition necessary to promotion : the as- 
pirant must have a good leg ; for the uniform required 
the officers to appear in tights, and any crural 
deficiency was an obstacle which could not be sur- 
mounted. And so it came to pass that the first ques- 
tion asked concerning any candidate was this, " How 
is the man off for a leg ? " 

Now it happened that there was exhibited daily 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 33 

before the students what may be called an ideal leg, 
oy which all others might be measured, and their 
shortcomings noted. This shapely limb was the 
property of Dr. Popkin, the Greek professor; and 
the owner seemed fully conscious of the beauty of 
its proportions, for he was in the habit of nursing and 
smoothing it, while hearing recitations, to the great 
delight of his classes. And so, when inquiries were 
made touching the calves of any would-be officer, 
there was but this one answer that was really satis- 
factory, " Why, sir, his leg is as good as Dr. Pop's ! ' : 

The Greek professor, I may say in passing, possessed 
an individuality that, if somewhat odd, was clearly 
cut and impressive. He was once asked by a lady 
who admired a system of theology then much dis- 
cussed, whether he was a Hopkinsian. "Not a 
bit of it, madam ; I am always a Popkinsian," was 
the prompt reply. And it was even so, for never 
was man more vigorously himself. His antique sim- 
plicity, dry humor, and hatred of all shams were just 
the qualities to win the regard of young men ; and it 
was more affection than offensive familiarity which 
led to the universal abbreviation of his name. It is 
said he once turned suddenly upon a stranger whom 
he had overheard designating him by the familiar col- 
lege title, " What right have you to call me Dr. Pop, 
sir? you were never one of my boys at Harvard." 
Years after this, I happened to meet the Doctor wear- 
ing the baggy pantaloon which reduced all legs to 
that democratic equality which Jefferson's manifesto 
declares to be the birthright of the people who go 

3 



34 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

about on them. I could not help remarking that 
he, of all men, had reason to lament the departure of 
breeches and the accompanying stocking. The old 
gentleman seemed much gratified with the allusion, 
and declared that the fashion was detestable which 
caused Apollo and a Satyr to be equally presentable. 

There was a theory current among us college boys 
that Dr. Pop was, so to speak, a born bachelor. His 
queer habits, we thought, must have dried upon him 
in infancy, and to break through their crust was as 
far beyond his power as it was averse to his inclina- 
tion. I might have held this opinion till the present 
day, had it not been for a few words that the Doctor 
once let fall at my father's table. The conversation 
was running upon the pronunciation of Greek names, 
and one of the family asked where the accent should 
be placed in fyhigcnia. "Why, in my class-room," 
said Dr. Popkin, " I should certainly say Iphigenia, 
but in common talk it is so often called Iphigenta 
that I have never attempted to change it." "Then 
you have never tried to change a lady's name out- 
side your class-room ! " said my father pleasantly. An 
expression never seen before darkened the face of 
the good gentleman, and there was a soft dewy qual- 
ity in his voice as he sighed forth the words, " Sir, 
I have never succeeded." It was plain that to this 
man, as to so many of his fellow mortals, a hope had 
arisen only to be crushed, and that his life had been 
thrust aside from a path which once seemed to open. 
Another Dr. Pop, whose existence we had never sus- 
pected, was for a moment revealed; there was a 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 35 

sacredness added to the bachelor professor after that 
little speech. 

In striking contrast to Dr. Popkin was Professor 
Frisbie, a gentleman of whom I find several notices 
in my journals. He had lost the use of his eyes for 
purposes of study, but the clearness and condensation 
of his thought, as well as the exquisite finish of the 
language in which it was conveyed, showed that his 
mind had not suffered from the deprivation. Mr. 
Frisbie had entered the service of the college as 
teacher of Latin, but was promoted to the chair of 
moral philosophy. He died in the prime of life, soon 
after my class graduated. His friend, Professor Nor- 
ton, in a touching address made at his funeral, men- 
tioned, as a marked trait of his character, that he 
could never bear to hear treated with levity those 
vices which a lax public opinion has considered 
venial. There w T as a passage of Tacitus which he 
was in the habit of quoting with expressions of strong 
approval. The historian, speaking of the manners of 
the Germans, says, " Nemo illic vitia videt, nee corrum- 
pere et corrumpi Sseculum vocatur;" or, as the sub- 
stance may be rendered in very free English, " Vicious 
indulgence is never made the subject of a jest, nor are 
the customs of society admitted as palliating a de- 
parture from moral rectitude." The doctrine implied 
in the quotation is the rule of life for all good men, 
and Frisbie probably felt that its importance was too 
little realized by the impulsive youths who sur- 
rounded him. Let me add that this professor of 
moral philosophy was very human in some of his 



36 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

tastes. He was very fond of novels, and saw no harm 
in them if they were well selected. Where sound 
morality was deftly mixed with fiction, he held that 
it would tend only to good, — an opinion which seemed 
much stranger sixty years ago than it does to-day. 

But I did not mean to get among the professors, — 
indeed, were these papers put together upon any 
literary plan, they would be all lumped together in 
some biographical department. But the reader will 
have already discovered that no symmetry of arrange- 
ment is to be expected in the compositions before 
him. They simply follow the drift of conversation, 
and are based upon such questions as my journals 
suggest to my friend who is turning over their yel- 
low leaves. Sometimes it happens that I can throw 
no light whatever upon their records. For instance, 
I have just been asked to explain this allusion, 
"Capital story of the President and Dr. Pop!" What 
was that story that was once so enjoyable ? Alas, I 
have fumbled through my memory in vain, — I can- 
not find a trace of it. No doubt it would light up 
this paper, could it only be recovered; but it lies 
somewhere in the past, as speechless as the lips of 
the old college boys who laughed together over the 
fun they found in it. Time silences not only Yorick 
the jester, but is apt to cover up with him his gibes 
and flashes of merriment, his songs and his good sto- 
ries. We can no longer use his keen eyes in looking 
after the ludicrous. And yet no generation need de- 
spair of finding enough of it to cast a pleasant glow 
upon life. The foibles of human nature will always 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 37 

furnish abundant matter for wholesome mirth, and 
they will always be benefactors who provide it for 
their weary brethren who are trudging over the dusty 
highway of the world. 

I have said that there were grave doubts in the 
minds of conservative citizens respecting the pro- 
priety of the College Company ; but it is safe to say 
that there was no doubt whatever concerning the 
College Fire Department. From an outside point 
of view it was an unmitigated nuisance, — a circum- 
stance which did not render it less dear to the hearts 
of the students. Like most vested interests, the col- 
lege engine struck its roots into the good old times 
of our ancestors, and was very difficult to abolish. 
The corporation had long owned a little tub of a 
machine, which would be thought scarcely fit to 
water a flower-bed at the present day, and the under- 
graduates had always enjoyed the privilege of tearing 
off with this instrument whenever there was an alarm 
of fire. The captain of the engine was appointed by 
the President of the college, but as all the minor 
offices were filled by the suffrages of the students, the 
organization was democratic enough to be interesting. 
No sooner did the fire-bell ring than we got into all 
sorts of horrible and grotesque garments. Hats in 
the last stages of dilapidation and strange ancestral 
coats were carefully kept for these occasions. Feel- 
ing that we were pretty well disguised, there seemed 
nothing to hinder that lawless abandonment to a frolic 
which is so delightful to unregenerate man when 
youthful blood bubbles in his veins- I cannot re- 



38 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

member that we ever rendered the slightest assist- 
ance in extinguishing a fire ; indeed, there were so 
many good reasons for stopping on the way that we 
commonly arrived after it was out. And then, if we 
were tired, we had an impudent way of leaving the 
tub upon the ground, well knowing that the govern- 
ment would send for their property the next day. 

Among the memorable fires that were attended 
by the college engine, the burning of the Exchange 
Coffee-House was the most impressive. This build- 
ing was said to be the finest in the Union, and was 
certainly the pride and boast of Boston. It had 
noble halls, and over two hundred lesser apartments. 
It was quite a little town in itself, giving shelter to 
brokers, insurance companies, foreign consuls, and 
masonic lodges. It had cost about $600,000, which 
was then thought to be an immense sum to be put 
in bricks and mortar. The light was so great as to 
be seen over a large area of country, and far out to 
sea; and when, at nine o'clock in the evening, the 
dome came crashing down, a shudder ran through 
thousands of excited spectators. Strange to say, no 
life was lost through all the tumult and confusion 
of the night. It was not until the next day that 
an accident occurred which called to mind the end 
of Clarence in his butt of Malmsey. An immense 
caldron of beer lay open among the ruins, and into 
this a poor boy managed to fall with consequences 
quite as fatal as the wine brought to the royal duke. 

On our return from this fire, exhausted with ex- 
citement and fatigue, we repaired to the engine-house, 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 39 

as was our custom, and were there regaled upon 
" black strap," a composition of which the secret, as 
I fervently hope, now reposes with the lost arts. Its 
principal ingredients were rum and molasses, though 
it is probable there were other simples combined 
with these conspicuous factors. Of all the detestable 
American drinks, upon which the inventive genius 
of our countrymen has exercised itself, this "black 
strap " was surely the most outrageous. It finally 
broke up the engine company, and this was perhaps 
the only good thing which ever came of it. For 
matters at last reached a crisis ; the government 
came to their senses, sold the engine, and broke up 
the association. But to take the edge off the cruelty 
of this necessary act, it was decided that the com- 
pany should be allowed a final meeting. And so we 
celebrated the obsequies of the old machine with an 
oration and a poem, following up these exercises 
with other proceedings of which a detailed account is 
unnecessary. 

The present students of Harvard have more civil- 
ized modes of recreation. I hear of art clubs, and of 
societies which take pleasure in essays upon political 
economy and scientific research. I find, too, that 
some things are allowed which would have been 
thought scandalous by the wise men of the past. 
What would our college authorities have said about 
permitting students to give theatrical exhibitions in 
a public hall ? What deductions of degeneracy would 
they not have drawn, had they been told that such 
a stigma as this would ever be attached to their cher- 



40 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

ished institution ? Well, every age is apt to arrange 
the virtues on a scale of its own, and to be becom- 
ingly shocked when they get joggled out of place. 
The students of to-day have undoubtedly pleasures 
which a moral philosopher would pronounce superior 
to the rude sports of their grandfathers. But for 
rough, tumultuous fun, for a glorious abandonment 
en masse of the irksome restraints of social life, they 
are (fortunately, of course) more than sixty years too 
late. They know not what it was to run to a fire 
with the old Harvard tub. 



IV. 



Few realize that college life sixty years ago was 
just a year longer than it is now. Cambridge was 
not deserted during the vacation ; while at present 
from July to October everybody is off and all the 
rooms are vacant. The students' apartments of my 
day were not so attractive that one would wish to 
linger in them. I cannot remember a single room 
which had carpet, curtain, or any pretence of orna- 
ment. In a few of them were hung some very poor 
prints, representing the four seasons, 'emblematical 
representations of the countries of Europe, and im- 
aginative devices of a similar nature. Our light 
came from dipped candles, with very broad bases 
and gradually narrowing to the top. These required 
the constant use of snuffers, — a circumstance which 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 41 

hindered application to an extent that in these days 
of kerosene and gas can scarcely be appreciated. 
Indeed, the dual brain with which mankind are fur- 
nished seemed to us to show intelligent design, not 
less than the famous illustrations presented by Paley. 
One brain was clearly required to do the studying, 
while it was the business of the other to watch the 
candles and look after the snuffers. 

Our fuel was wood, which was furnished by the 
college ; it being cut from some lands in Maine which 
were among its possessions, and brought to the wharf 
in the college sloop, the " Harvard." This arrange- 
ment was supposed to cause a great saving, and the 
authorities naturally prided themselves upon the 
sagacity which made this Eastern property so pro- 
ductive. It was not until Dr. Bowditch, the great 
mathematician, was given a place in the government 
that this arrangement was quietly abandoned. This 
eminent gentleman — perhaps from his natural ap- 
titude for figures — succeeded in demonstrating to 
his associates that it would be much cheaper for 
the college to buy wood from the dearest dealer 
than to cut it on its own lands and transport it in 
its own sloop. It is strange how long-established 
methods of obtaining the necessaries of life will con- 
tinue, when a little thought will show that better 
ones may be substituted. 

When speaking just now of the decoration (or 
absence of decoration) of college rooms, I ought to 
have noticed one significant exception. My classmate, 
Otis, had ornamented his mantelpiece with two curi- 



42 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

ous black stones, which excited great interest in his 
visitors. He had made a journey to Washington, to 
see his father, who was a Senator ; and had brought 
these rarities home, as precious memorials of his 
travels. He had a strange tale to tell concerning 
them. It seemed that the people in Baltimore actu- 
ally burned just such stones as these ; and, wonderful 
to relate, there was no smoke in their chimneys. I 
believe that these singular minerals have become so 
popular in Harvard College that they are now brought 
there in considerable quantities. The only change is 
that they are no longer displayed on the mantelpiece, 
but just below it — in the grate. They will be rec- 
ognized under the name of anthracite coal. 

There were two college clubs, to which admission 
depended on scholarship. These were the Hasty 
Pudding and the Phi Beta Kappa. In the former 
there were nominally an essay and a discussion at 
every meeting. In reality there was nothing of 
the sort. There were pudding and molasses, and 
nothing more. The latter, with the exception of its 
annual dinner, had no meetings whatever, except those 
necessary to receive new members ; but it possessed 
the attraction of being a secret society, and we were 
solemnly sworn never to reveal the mighty mysteries 
that were confided to us at the ceremony of initia- 
tion. During the great anti-Masonic excitement 
John Quincy Adams brought it to pass that all 
pledges of secrecy were removed, by a formal vote 
of the society ; so that I am perfectly free to expose 
all its mysteries, could I only remember what they 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 43 

were. The secret of the brilliant annual dinners of 
the Phi Beta, under the presidencies of Edward 
Everett, Judge Story, Judge Warren, and others, 
lies near the surface. It was very difficult for out- 
siders to gain admission, so that the company was 
one in which distinguished men were willing to un- 
bend. Add to this — as the secret within the secret 
— that we were absolutely secured against reporters. 

There were other associations, known as " blowing 
clubs," in connection with which drunkenness was 
exhibited with a publicity that would not now be 
tolerated. One of these societies — which is yet in 
existence, though it is to be hoped that the habits 
of its members have improved — was wont to have 
a dinner on exhibition days. After the exercises in 
the chapel, the brethren would march to Porter's 
tavern, preceded by a full band ; and the attempt 
was made to return in the same way. First would 
come the band, the only steady part of the show, 
whose music attracted a crowd of lookers-on. Then 
came, reeling and swaying from side to side, a mass of 
bacchanals, in all stages of intoxication. That this 
disgraceful sight should have been tolerated by the 
college authorities will seem surprising to those who 
fail to realize the radical and beneficent change in 
public sentiment which has taken place. To abstain 
entirely from alcoholic liquors — the only safe course 
for the young, and probably for the old also — was 
then considered a priggish and ridiculous asceticism. 
"When you get where you can't stop, Pat, be sure 
you hold up ! " said an Irishman to his friend, who 



44 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

was running down a hill, with a precipice at the 
bottom of it. Some such advice as this may have 
been given to the young fellows who were hastening 
to their doom. But the customs of the time were all 
in favor of indulgence in strong drink. Liquor was 
openly sold from booths upon public days, and it was 
even supposed that an occasional debauch was bene- 
ficial to the health. Some of the victims were men 
of most generous character and of brilliant intelli- 
gence. All honor to the temperance party which has 
brought authority — physiological, religious, and social 
— to the rebuke of this monstrous evil. 

But, among college clubs, the place of honor must 
be reserved for the Med. Fac. (so abbreviated from 
Medical Faculty), a roaring burlesque upon learned 
bodies in general and the college government in par- 
ticular. In this association was to be found some of 
the most excellent fooling that I have ever met. We 
had regular meetings, conducted with mock decorum, 
at each of which a pseudo professor delivered a lecture 
on some topic of medical interest. I remember a 
capital discourse pronounced by my chum, Stetson, 
on the science of osteology. He began with the 
famous Be mortuis nil nisi bonum, which he asserted 
to be a medical aphorism, meaning " You can get 
nothing from dead men but their bones." From this 
text he went on, with professorial gravity of manner, 
piling absurdities upon one another in a way that 
was simply irresistible. Those who knew this excel- 
lent man as the Kev. Caleb Stetson will remember 
how difficult it was for him to keep his rich sense 



HARVARD SIXTY YEARS AGO. 45 

of humor under due professional restraint. But as 
orator of the Med. Fac. there was no conventional 
fence to girdle in his honest love of fun, and it shone 
out brightly, before suffering partial eclipse behind 
the sacred desk. 

The Medical Faculty were accustomed to issue 
diplomas and honorary degrees, in imitation of those 
dispensed by college officers. All sorts of queer 
people were made the recipients of these distinctions, 
and their names were at one time published in a 
catalogue, each being loaded with cabalistic letters, 
after the manner of those honored by academic 
bodies. Among these diplomas one was sent to 
the Emperor of Eussia, informing that potentate 
that he had been elected a member of the Medical 
Faculty of Harvard College. The affair was en- 
grossed upon parchment and got up in splendid 
style. It, moreover, gave a full list of the honorary 
distinctions which had been graciously bestowed 
upon the monarch on the occasion of his admission. 
Just what came of this piece of audacity I cannot 
say with any certainty; but the report was circulated 
and believed that in due time a fine surgical library 
arrived, consigned to the care of the authorities of 
the college. This they were requested to make 
over to their Medical Faculty, with the grateful 
acknowledgments of their good brother, the Emperor. 
Whether such an incident ever occurred is perhaps 
doubtful. If it did, the authorities may have thought 
that, under the circumstances, the best thing to be 
done was to keep dark and to keep the books. But, 



46 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

if there is any question whether our library was con- 
fiscated, there is no doubt whatever that the Medical 
Faculty was summarily broken up about the time 
that despatches were due from their august member 
in St. Petersburg. From some cause or other, the 
government suddenly acted with immense energy, 
and asserted that monopoly in the matter of con- 
ferring degrees which has since been maintained. 

Under the date of April 26, 1821, I find recorded 
in my journal the impressions made upon me by the 
oratory of Daniel Webster. He was at that time 
thirty-nine years old, and had scarcely touched the 
maturity of his remarkable powers. The occasion 
was one of surpassing interest. James Prescott, 
judge of the probate of wills, was impeached before 
the Senate of Massachusetts, sitting as a high court 
of judicature. The trial was conducted under forms 
similar to those used in the famous prosecution of 
Warren Hastings. Indeed, the whole proceeding 
seemed like a provincial copy of that absorbing case ; 
with this difference, however, that the great orators 
were retained for the defence, instead of the prose- 
cution. Daniel Webster, Samuel Hoar, William 
Prescott, Samuel Hubbard, — the flower of the Bos- 
ton bar, — appeared in behalf of Prescott. Articles 
of impeachment had been found by the House of 
Eepresentatives, which adjourned to be present at the 
case. This popular body was represented by mana- 
gers, as were the Commons of England in the prose- 
cution of Hastings. When Webster was to make 
his final plea, the galleries were crowded with ladies, 



HARVAKD SIXTY YEAKS AGO. 47 

the floor was packed by such fragment of the crowd 
as could gain admission, and it might almost be said 
that the pulse of the community stopped, from the 
excitement of the moment. 

By some extraordinary good fortune, or perhaps 
favoritism, I found myself in one of the best seats in 
that thronged assembly. On either side of me were 
personages of no less importance than President Kirk- 
land and Harrison Gray Otis. This was much as 
if a student of Columbia College should find himself 
sitting between Secretary Evarts and Cardinal Mc- 
Closkey on an occasion of great public interest. No, 
it would not be the same thing, after all ; for none of 
the conspicuous men of to-day tower so majestically 
above the rest of the world as their predecessors seemed 
to rise above the smaller communities which were 
subject unto them. But how can the triumphs of the 
orator be represented upon paper ? It can be said 
only that Webster spoke for nearly four hours, and 
held the great assembly breathless under his spell. 
I have noted in my journal the singular pathos of his 
conclusion. After exclaiming that no man had dared 
to come into that court to accuse his client of giving 
a wrong judgment, he turned suddenly upon one of 
the managers, and demanded whether, should God 
summon him to his account that very night, he would 
not leave the world in perfect confidence that the in- 
terest of his children would be safe in the hands of 
the upright judge against whom his impeachment 
had been brought. The words in themselves are no 
more than the libretto of an opera ; but, with Web- 



48 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

ster behind them, they seemed to sweep away all 
adverse testimony, and to render an acquittal by 
acclamation a simple necessity. It is, undoubtedly, 
to the credit of the independence of the court that 
Judge Prescott was not acquitted on all the counts 
of the indictment ; but to have heard the noble effort 
made in his behalf by Daniel Webster marked an 
epoch in the lives of those present. It gave me my 
first idea of the electric force that might be wielded 
by a master of human speech. 



COMMENCEMENT DAY IN 1821. 



SIXTY years ago Commencement Day was a State 
holiday. The banks were closed, business was 
pretty generally suspended, and numbers of sightseers 
repaired to Cambridge, as their ancestors had been ac- 
customed to do a hundred years before. The college 
exercises were held, as they had been for a century, in 
the old Congregational meeting-house ; and the build- 
ing was by no means ill-adapted to this purpose. 
The galleries, which sloped at an angle of about forty- 
five degrees, displayed to great advantage the beautiful 
and fashionably dressed ladies with which they were 
crowded. At the end of each of the four aisles a 
wooden desk was erected, and from these forensics 
had formerly been read. The speakers, of course, 
delivered their parts from the platform. The stu- 
dents belonging to Boston families of wealth gave 
elaborate parties in honor of the occasion. These 
were frequented by all the strangers who happened 
to be in town, and advertised the college in a way 
that was thought useful. Indeed, the government 
were accused of giving parts to inferior scholars, 
whose sumptuous entertainments would be likely to 
lend dignity to the day. 

4 



50 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

The account of the conclusion of my college life 
shall be copied just as it stands written in my diary. 
I need not apologize for any crudities or egotism 
which may be found in the wholly private records of 
a youth who was legally a minor. 

" July 16, 1821. — Attended a dissertation of Em- 
erson's in the morning on the subject of Ethical 
Philosophy. I found it long and dry. In the after- 
noon we went to our last lecture on exhilarating gas. 
Gorham fought, Dinsmore danced, Curtis laughed, 
and Bunker swore, according as the ruling passion 
swayed their breasts. In the evening I paid my last 
visit to the Miss Hills. In the afternoon, went to 
the President and got my dissertation, which he had 
mislaid. He was quite facetious, for I had painted 
my coat against the wall. This is the last evening 
we spend in college. May I never look back upon 
it with regret ! It strikes eleven, and I must go to 
bed. 

"July 17 th. — At nine in the morning I read my 
dissertation, and it had the good fortune to please our 
college critics. At half past ten we assembled at 
Keating's room, and marched from there to the Pres- 
ident's, and escorted him, with the rest of the govern- 
ment, to the chapel, where Barnwell and Emerson 
performed our valedictory exercises before all the 
scholars and a number cf ladies. They were rather 
poor and did but little honor to the class. We re- 
turned with the President to his house immediately 
after the exercises. At one o'clock all those who 
were fortunate enough to obtain deturs went to the 




COMMENCEMENT DAY IN 1821. 51 

President to receive them. There were but eighteen 
who got them. I had Westall's edition of ' Young's 
Night Thoughts,' one of the best books that was given 
out. At two we marched down to Porter's, where 
we had a fine dinner. After the cloth was removed, 
Mr. Cushing [afterward well known as Hon. Caleb 
Cushing] came in, and gave for a toast : f The bands of 
friendship, which always tighten when they are wet.' 
After he had gone, Wood delivered an oration, which 
was very witty and appropriate ; and then Alden re- 
hearsed the woes and pleasures of college life in his 
usual style. There were a number of original songs 
sung : Alden sung one much to the amusement of us 
all. When we had all drunk our skins full, we 
marched round to all the professors' houses, danced 
round the Kebellion and Liberty Trees, and then re- 
turned to the hall. A great many of the class were 
half-seas-over, and I had the pleasure of supporting 
one of them. This was as hard work as I ever desire 
to do. Many ladies came to witness our dancing, and 
were much scandalized by the elevation of spirit 
which some exhibited. We parted with more grief 
than any class I ever saw, every one of us being 
drowned in tears. Had I been told that I should 
have felt so much, I should have laughed at the idea. 
When it came to the point, however, I cried like the 
rest of them. In the evening Frank Lowell and I 
went over to Mr. John Lowell's, where we had a 
very pleasant time. M^s Eliza S looked pret- 
tier and talked better than I ever knew her to 
before. 



52 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

"August 29, 1821, Commencement Day. — In the 
morning I went to prayers, to hear Mr. Cushing 
pray ; for it is always customary for the particular 
tutor of the graduating class to perform that duty on 
Commencement morning. He read us an account of 
the fall of Babylon and of the emancipation of the 
oppressed Jews. This seemed very applicable to our 
escape from the government, though I do not believe 
he ever thought of it. His prayer was short and 
not impressive. About eight o'clock the ladies came 
over; and I got them into the meeting-house by 
opening the door while the sexton was away, for 
which I had a good scolding on his return. That, 
however, was but a small matter. I then went to 
Mr. Higginson's, and returned to wait on the ladies. 
The house was full of very beautiful women, and 
every one who spoke paid them some compliment or 
other ; but most of them were rather lame ones. Hill 
Second, Sampson Reed in the master's oration, Bur- 
ton, and Leverett were very pathetic toward them. 

A Miss , from Salem, attracted much attention 

on account of the beauty of her neck ; and she, to 
oblige admirers, wore no ruffles. All the Amorys, 
Sullivans, Crowninshields, with long et ceteras, filled 
the house. After the exercises, which were very 
short, I went over to Porter's, where all the relations 
of our family were assembled. They appeared grati- 
fied with my performance. We had a very handsome 
dinner ; and after it was over the Governor, Council, 
and all the great and learned men, both friends and 
strangers, came in and took wine with us. They all 



COMMENCEMENT DAY IN 1821. 53 

complimented me on my success, — in part payment, 
I suppose, for the wine which they drank. Among 
my relations was Mrs. Storer, who is eighty-six years 
old, and who attended the Commencements of my 
father and grandfather. She seemed to enjoy the 
day as highly as anybody. We visited Mrs. Farrar, 
after our company had gone, and found there many 
young ladies, in addition to all the gentlemen who 
had visited us. In the evening my sisters and my- 
self went to Mr. Otis's great ball (given in honor of 
the graduation of his son), and there we enjoyed our- 
selves highly. It was nearly twelve o'clock before 
we returned. Thus ends my college life. I must 
now begin the world." 

I will conclude this account of my connection with 
Harvard College by alluding briefly to my final ap- 
pearance as a pupil of that institution. This was on 
the occasion of my taking a master's degree. Now 
this same degree was at that time given in regular 
course to every one who had been three years out of 
college and who chose to pay for it. A man might 
have forgotten the little he had learned, and have 
failed to acquire any new knowledge to take its place, 
he was still entitled to be proclaimed master of arts 
on the simple condition above specified. The change 
of policy, which now requires a serious examination 
to be passed before this degree can be conferred, is 
one of the many beneficial reforms which later times 
have instituted. 

It was formerly the custom for at least two of the 
candidates for the master's degree to be assigned parts 



54 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

at Commencement. An oration in English and a 
Latin valedictory were commonly spoken by three- 
year graduates. A few days before the Commence- 
ment of 1824 I received a letter from President 
Kirkland, in which he said that the person to whom 
the valedictory had been assigned had not put in an 
appearance, and nobody knew where he was to be 
found. This was William Withington, a classmate of 
mine and an excellent scholar, but somewhat awkward 
in his manner and with small gifts as a speaker. As 
my rank in the class entitled me to succeed the miss- 
ing Withington, the President begged me to prepare 
a Latin discourse without more ado ; for it was to be 
a great day for the college, as General Lafayette was 
to be present. It may be that the graduates of our 
colleges to-day are capable of breaking into the dead 
languages at a moment's notice ; but certain it is that 
the instruction that was to be had sixty years ago 
did not communicate this desirable facility. To 
comply with the President's request would have been 
simply impossible, had it not been for an important 
package which accompanied his letter. This con- 
tained a number of Latin compositions adapted to 
academic festivals. They had evidently been used 
with some freedom by past orators ; but, as they had 
never been reported and as the bulk of the audiences 
did not understand a word of them, they were as 
bright and fresh as ever. It was evidently the in- 
tention of Dr. Kirkland that this useful literature 
should be largely drawn upon in preparing the vale- 
dictory. The conventional compliments to governors, 



COMMENCEMENT DAY IN 1821. 55 

magistrates, and others in authority were as good as 
ever. The only thing to be done was to add some 
original sentences applicable to the nation's guest, 
and then to recast, as well as my limited time 
allowed me to do, the matter which had been so 
thoughtfully furnished. 

My reminiscences of Lafayette, whom I afterward 
had the privilege of seeing intimately, do not belong 
in this paper. My present concern is with Com- 
mencement Day at Harvard. The galleries of the 
venerable meeting-house had been thronged with 
ladies from an early hour in the morning. But the 
General, who had to be received at almost every 
cross-road, was waylaid at Cambridgeport, where a 
triumphal arch had been erected in his honor. Here 
addresses and replies must be exchanged, so that he 
was some hours behind time on reaching the colleges. 
Notwithstanding the expectant and wearied audience 
which was waiting in the meeting-house, the Presi- 
dent did not see fit to omit his address of welcome, 
which was delivered from the porch which then stood 
in front of University Hall. The General's reply 
was brief, and concluded with a Latin quotation, 
which, being given with the European pronunciation 
of that language, was not understood. At length the 
procession was formed and proceeded to the meeting- 
house, and the most memorable Commencement ex- 
ercises which those old walls had ever witnessed were 
begun, about two o'clock in the afternoon. 

To describe the enthusiasm that greeted the guest 
of the day is simply impossible. Those who felt it 



56 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

— those who were lifted up by it — knew that it 
was a unique experience of which nothing adequate 
could be said. Lafayette was seated in a conspicuous 
place upon the platform. Most of the speakers al- 
luded in some way to his presence, and so permitted 
the repressed rapture to burst forth. Never was 
homage so unbounded, so heartfelt, so spontaneous. 
It was as if one of the great heroes of history had 
been permitted to return to earth. The exercises 
were all good ; but the oration by Edward B. Emer- 
son, the first scholar of the year, and the master's 
oration by my classmate, Upham, were probably as 
fine performances as have ever been given at a Har- 
vard Commencement. Both these young men reached 
the level of the occasion; and what more can be 
said? The valedictory, of course, came last, and I 
felt rather awkward in rising to declaim my stilted 
Latin phrases before an audience which had been 
stirred by such vigorous English. The first part of 
my performance consisted of mere phrases of rhe- 
torical compliment thrown out at creation in general. 
I rolled them out as well as I could ; but they seemed 
neither stimulating nor, in fact, comprehensible to 
the audience. But the inevitable allusion came at 
last. I had drifted among the heroes of the Eevo- 
lution, and suddenly turned to the General with my 
In te quoque, Lafayette ! — and then what an uproar 
drowned the rest of the sentence ! " Why, sir, do you 
know, the pit rose at me ! " said Edmund Kean, after 
his first performance of Shy lock at Drury Lane. The 
expression of the player is perhaps as good as any- 



COMMENCEMENT DAY IN 1821. 57 

thing I can borrow to indicate the scene before me. 
The entire audience upon the floor had sprung to 
their feet ; the ladies in the galleries were standing 
also, and were waving their handkerchiefs with im- 
passioned ardor. It was the last opportunity which 
the day was to offer to pay homage to the guest of 
America, and, as if by one consent, it was improved 
to the utmost. I could not but share the excite- 
ment provoked by the magic name I had uttered, 

and was scarcely responsible for the concluding sen- 
tences. 

And thus my connection with Harvard College 
came to an end, — a satisfactory conclusion, truly, 
were it not for the awkward confession that I was 
not the man to whom that most memorable of vale- 
dictories rightfully belonged. It was by reason of 
the generosity or misfortune of my classmate, Wil- 
liam Withington, that I took leave of Cambridge in 
a manner so agreeable. 



REMINISCENCES OF THE SECOND 
PRESIDENT. 



TV /TY earliest recollections of the second President 
-*-*-*- go back to the time when, as a child, hardly 
more than five years old, I used to gaze upon him in 
the Quincy meeting-house. I have a perfect remem- 
brance of his being pointed out to me by my father, 
who told me that I must be sure to remember him, 
as he was an old man and could not be with us long. 
It was, of course, not supposed that he would attain 
the great and exceptional age which he reached, and 
that I should have the privilege of frequent associa- 
tion with him for so many years. I remember gazing 
at him with the wondering eyes of a child, and mar- 
velling why he was called " President," and why he 
was considered better worth seeing than Captain Bass 
and the other old men of the village. The meeting- 
house in Quincy, so associated with John Adams, 
may be worth a brief description. I have no distinct 
remembrance of the building previous to its enlarge- 
ment, in 1806, but have heard its appearance previous 
to that date often described by Mr. Adams and by 
members of my own family. It was built in 1731, 
and, according to our present ideas, was queer and 
comfortless. The body of the house was occupied 



REMINISCENCES OF THE SECOND PRESIDENT. 59 

by long seats, the men being placed on one side of 
the broad aisle and the women on the other. The 
oldest inhabitants were always seated in front. "I 
never shall forget/' Mr. Adams once said to me, " the 
rows of venerable heads ranged along those front 
benches which, as a young fellow, I used to gaze 
upon. They were as old and gray as mine is now." 
The deacons were accommodated just under the pulpit, 
while the sexton had a bench in the rear, perhaps to 
keep a watch over the young people on the back 
seats. One of the oddest things about the church 
was a little hole high up in the wall, through which 
the bell-ringer might be seen in the exercise of his 
vocation. It was the duty of this functionary to 
keep his eye upon the congregation, and to mark 
by the customary tolling the arrival of the minister. 
As time wore on, some wall-pews began to appear 
in the old meeting-house. These were built by in- 
dividuals, at their own expense, permission having 
been first gained by a vote of the town. And there 
are curious votes upon this subject in the early rec- 
ords. On one occasion it was voted that a prominent 
personage might "build him a pew over the pulpit, 
provided he so builds as not to darken the pulpit." 
And a friend of mine here suggests that, as a figure 
of speech, pews may now be said to be built over 
the pulpit with some frequency, and regrets that the 
good divines of the town, whose life-long sway was 
arbitrary and unquestioned, did not have the wit to 
prevent that perilous permission. For, notwithstand- 
ing the wholesome caution of the old record, it has 



60 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

been found impossible " not to darken the pulpit " 
when the pews are placed above it. 

An ancestor of mine was permitted to fence off the 
first pew, and his example was quickly followed by 
others. This was a recognition of caste in the one 
place where men should meet on terms of perfect 
equality. I cannot but think that this innovation 
upon the good custom of our forefathers has had its 
effect in alienating from religious services a large 
portion of our population. A notable addition to 
the Sunday exercises in the Quincy meeting-house 
followed the introduction of the pews ; for the seats 
in these aristocratic pens were upon hinges, and were 
always raised during the long prayer, for the purpose 
of allowing those who stood to rest themselves by 
leaning against the railing. At the conclusion of 
the devotion, the sudden descent of all the seats 
sounded like a volley of musketry, and was a source 
of considerable terror to those who heard it for the 
first time. When the increase of population rendered 
aesirable an enlargement of the meeting-house, it 
was sawed through the middle ; and, the two halves 
being separated, an addition was built to reunite 
them. The President's pew was conspicuous in the 
reconstructed edifice, and there the old man was to 
be seen at every service. An air of respectful defer- 
ence to John Adams seemed to pervade the building. 
The ministers brought their best sermons when they 
came to exchange, and had a certain consciousness 
in their manner as if officiating before royalty. The 
medley of stringed and wind instruments in the gal- 



REMINISCENCES OF THE SECOND PRESIDENT. 61 

lery — a survival of the sacred trumpets and shawms 
mentioned by King David — seemed to the imagi- 
nation of a child to be making discord together in 
honor of the venerable chief who was the centre of 
interest. 

When I was about six years old, I was put to 
school to the Eev. Peter Whitney; and, spending 
the winter in his family, was often asked to dine 
on Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. Adams. This was 
at first somewhat of an ordeal for a boy; but the 
genuine kindness of the President, who had not the 
smallest chip of an iceberg in his composition, soon 
made me perfectly at ease in his society. With Mrs. 
Adams there was a shade more formality. A con- 
sciousness of age and dignity, which was often some- 
what oppressive, was customary with old people of 
that day in the presence of the young. Something 
of this Mrs. Adams certainly had, though it wore off 
or came to be disregarded by me, for in the end I 
was strongly attached to her. She always dressed 
handsomely, and her rich silks and laces seemed appro- 
priate to a lady of her dignified position in the town. 
If there was a little savor of patronage in the generous 
hospitality she exercised among her simple neighbors, 
it was never regarded as more than a natural empha- 
sis of her undoubted claims to precedence. The aris- 
tocratic colonial families were still recognized, for the 
tide of democracy had not risen high enough to cover 
these distinctions. The parentage and descent of 
Mrs. Adams were undoubtedly of weight in estab- 
lishing her position ; although, as we now look at 



62 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

things, the strong personal claims of herself and hus- 
band would seem to have been all sufficient. 

I well remember the modest dinners at the Presi- 
dent's, to which I brought a school-boy's appetite. 
The pudding, generally composed of boiled corn-meal, 
always constituted the first course. This was the 
custom of the time, — it being the ught desirable to 
take the edge off of one's hunger before reaching the 
joint. Indeed, it was considered wise to stimulate 
the young to fill themselves with pudding, by the 
assurance that the boy who managed to eat the most 
of it should be helped most abundantly to the meat, 
which was to follow. It need not be said that neither 
the winner nor his competitors found much room for 
meat at the close of their contest ; and so the domes- 
tic economy of the arrangement was very apparent. 
Miss Smith, a niece of Mrs. Adams, was an inmate 
of the ^resident's family, and one of these ladies 
always carved. Mr. Adams made his contribution 
to the service of the table in the form of that good- 
humored, easy banter, which makes a dinner of herbs 
more digestible than is a stalled ox without it. At 
a later period of our acquaintance, I find preserved 
in my journals frequent though too meagre reports 
of his conversation. But of the time of which I am 
writing there is not a word recoverable. I can dis- 
tinctly picture to myself a certain iron spoon which 
the old gentleman once fished up from the depths of 
a pudding in which it had been unwittingly cooked ; 
but of the pleasant things he said in those easy din- 
ner-talks no trace remains. 



REMINISCENCES OF THE SECOND PRESIDENT. 63 

I have mentioned the meeting-house as associated 
with President Adams, and as giving character to his 
native town. But there was another locality in Quincy 
which was a still more interesting resort for its in- 
habitants ; at least, during the earlier portions of their 
lives. Among my boyish recollections there is dis- 
tinctly visible a very pretty hill, which rose from the 
banks of the river, or what passed for one, and was 
covered with trees of the original forest growth. 
This was known as Cupid's Grove ; and it had been 
known under that title for at least three generations, 
and perhaps from the settlement of the town. The 
name suggests the purposes to which this sylvan spot 
was dedicated. It was the resort of the lovers of the 
vicinage, or of those who, if circumstances favored, 
might become so. The trunks of the trees were cut 
and scarred all over with the initials of ladies who 
were fair and beloved, or who once had been so ; for 
it was then the fashion to pay modest maidens a 
compliment which would be now thought in very 
doubtful taste. But, as Shakespeare makes his Or- 
lando — a fine, spirited fellow and very much of a 
gentleman — cut the name of Rosalind upon every 
available bit of timber in the forest of Arden, it will 
not be necessary to apologize for the habits of my 
contemporaries in this respect. It is sad to mention 
that poor Cupid has long been driven from his sanc- 
tuary, which has suffered violence at the hands of his 
brother god of heathendom, who has so often gotten 
the better of him. Plutus strode by that humble 
hillock, and straightway the grove was cut down 



64 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

and sold for firewood; and not only this, but the 
little eminence itself was purchased for its gravel, 
and under that form, as I believe, has been dumped 
upon the vulgar highway. The fate of Cupid's Grove 
is typical of that of the romance which was associated 
with places of this nature in our older New England 
towns. In the days when there were no public libra- 
ries, no travelling operas, no theatre trains, — when, 
in fact, the one distraction of the week was going to 
meeting, — who can wonder that the flowery paths 
leading to the domestic circle were more frequented 
than at present ? 

In those old times it happened that a certain young 
lawyer, named John Adams, was wont to visit a good 
deal at the house of a great-grandfather of mine, who 
had a large landed estate and several daughters ; and 
the family tradition is that one of these ladies was 
not wholly uninteresting to the young fellow, who 
had just begun his struggle with the world. Just 
what it all amounted to it is impossible to say, at 
this distance of time; neither would it be well to 
say it, even if it were possible. The historical facts 
are that my great-aunt married Ebenezer Storer — 
a gentleman of some pretension, who was for forty 
years treasurer of Harvard College — and that young 
Adams married Miss Abigail Smith. Eventful years 
rolled by, and I, a young man, just entering life, was 
deputed to attend my venerable relative on a visit to 
the equally venerable ex-President. Both parties 
were verging upon their ninetieth year. They had 
met very infrequently, if at all, since the days of 



REMINISCENCES OF THE SECOND PRESIDENT. 65 

their early intimacy. When Mrs. Storer entered the 
room, the old gentleman's face lighted up, as he ex- 
claimed, with ardor, " What ! Madam, shall we not 
go walk in Cupid's Grove together ? h To say the 
truth, the lady seemed somewhat embarrassed by this 
utterly unlooked-for salutation. It seemed to hurry 
her back through the past with such rapidity as fairly 
to take away her breath. But self-possession came at 
last, and with it a suspicion of girlish archness, as 
she replied, " All, sir, it would not be the first time 
that we have walked there ! " 

Perhaps the incident is not worth recording, as 
there is really no way of getting upon paper the 
suggestiveness that it had to a witness. For a mo- 
ment the burden of years seemed to be thrown aside, 
and the vivacity of youth reasserted itself. The flash 
of old sentiment was startling from its utter unex- 
pectedness. I shall hereafter have occasion to copy 
from my journals fragments of the conversation of 
this distinguished man ; but I can give nothing which 
made more impression upon me than this little speech. 
It is the sort of thing which sets a young fellow to 
thinking. It is a surprise to find a great personage 
so simple, so perfectly natural, so thoroughly human ; 
and it needs but a little reflection to discover that he 
is great because — among more obvious reasons — he 
can always draw upon a good balance of these homely, 
commonplace qualities. 



VISITS TO JOHN ADAMS. 



"AURING the last five years of the life of John 
J -^ Adams I enjoyed the privilege of constant 
intercourse with him during the summer months. 
Several times a week I went to his house, where I 
frequently read aloud to him or acted as his amanu- 
ensis. I shall give some gleanings from his conver- 
sations, as I find them recorded in my journals. 

"September 6, 1820. — Judge Winston and Major 
Sommerville, gentlemen from the South, drove out 
this morning and stayed with us some time. Then 
we all went up to call upon President Adams. His 
visitors asked him his opinion of Patrick Henry, and 
whether he was not the greatest orator he had ever 
heard. His reply was : ' No, gentlemen. Much of 
Wirt's life of him is a romance. Why, I have heard 
that gentleman's father [pointing to one who was 
present] speak in a strain of eloquence to which Pat- 
rick Henry could never pretend/ He paused, and 
then added, 'You know Virginian geese are always 
swans.' Notwithstanding these remarks, the gentle- 
men seemed very much pleased with their visit." 

In a letter addressed to Mr. Wirt himself, and 
bearing date January 5, 1818, 1 find that Mr. Adams's 



VISITS TO JOHN ADAMS. 67 

testimony is the same. The passage is characteris- 
tic enough for quotation. He writes : " James Otis 
electrified the town of Boston, the Province of Massa- 
chusetts Bay, and the whole continent more than 
Patrick Henry ever did in the whole course of his 
life. If we must have panegyrics and hyperboles, 
I must say that if Mr. Henry was Demosthenes and 
Mr. Eichard Henry Lee was Cicero, James Otis was 
Isaiah and Ezekiel united." 

"November 2, 1821. — To-day President Adams 
walked down to see us (the distance was about a 
mile), and arrived a little before noon. He gave us 
an account of his early law life. His father hoped 
he would be a clergyman ; but the nature of the 
doctrines which were then taught repelled him. On 
leaving college, he went to Worcester, where he kept 
school and studied law at the same time." 

From the journal of another member of the family 
I quote a fuller account of what passed at this visit. 

" Mr. Adams talked freely, and said : ' After I left 
college, I came home to Braintree, to see my friends ; 
and then went to Worcester, to keep school to sup- 
port myself, while at the same time I studied law 
with Judge Putnam. I advise every young man to 
keep school. I acquired more knowledge of human 
nature while I kept that school than while I was at 
the bar, than while I was in the world of politics or 
at the Courts of Europe. It is the best method of 
acquiring patience, self-command, and a knowledge 
of character. After I had finished my studies, I 
opened an office in Braintree, and lived here some 



68 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

years, the town being then in Suffolk County. The 
bar was then crowded with eminent lawyers. I re- 
moved to Boston for two or three years, but was 
so overwhelmed with business that I was forced to 
return to Braintree, for my health.' Mr. Adams spoke 
of the advantages of keeping a regular journal, and 
said that he had kept one during the four years of 
his college life, which he had foolishly destroyed. 
He would now give anything in the world to have 
it again." 

To go back a little, I will copy my entries made 
on September 27th, in the same year. " Mrs. Head 
and Miss Tyng called in the afternoon. They were 
full of complaints of the love which ladies in this 
town have for scandal. In the evening we all went 
up to President Adams's, where the fair ones of Mil- 
ton and Quincy met in harmony. We had quite a 
pleasant time, dancing to the piano — not in the most 
graceful style imaginable. Miss Helen looked beau- 
tifully, played angelically, and talked wisely. Presi- 
dent Adams gave the girls a fine account of the 
ancient belles and beaux of this place. And as future 
ages will, undoubtedly, inquire who were our divini- 
ties, I subjoin a catalogue. To posterity, you degen- 
erate race that will be, — you who never saw Miss 
Lyman, nor Miss Brooks, nor the ■ Panorama of 
Athens,' — know that in the town of Quincy, at the 
residence of President Adams, on the night of Sep- 
tember 27th, 1821, assembled the following ladies : 
Miss Duncan and two Misses Codman, sojourners at 
Mrs. Black's; three Misses Marstons; Miss Whitney; 



VISITS TO JOHN ADAMS. 69 

Miss Aptborp and three Greenleafs ; Miss Baxter 
and Mrs. Barney Smith, in all the trappings of — 
I wonder how people will dress seventy years from 
now. I will leave a blank here for any gentle reader 
of that period to write down the mode. Now for all 
these ladies there were but six gentlemen, — the three 
Adamses, George Whitney, Mr. Smith, and myself." 

"August 26, 1822. — George Otis dined with me, 
and in the afternoon Sam. Phillips, of Andover, ar- 
rived to spend the night. In the evening I accom- 
panied him to the President's, and found the old 
gentleman well and lively. Speaking of the contro- 
versy between Dr. Stewart, of Andover, and Mr. 
Miller, of New York, concerning the eternal genera- 
tion of the Son, he became quite eloquent, censuring 
the idea as inconceivable and impious. The conver- 
sation passed to his son, John Quincy Adams, of 
whom his father said, 'He has a very hard, laborious, 
and unhappy life ; though he is envied by half the 
people in the United States for his talents and sit- 
uation.' Speaking of the navy, he said that if we 
had thirty ships of the line no European nation 
would dare to attack us, as not even England could 
spare that number at such a distance from her own 
coasts." 

"September 1, 1822. — Visited the President, as 
usual. He was quite amusing, and gave us many 
anecdotes of his life. He was particularly funny in 
an account of an interview he had with the Turkish 
ambassador in England, whom he astonished by his 
power of smoking. Also he spoke of the Emperor 



70 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

of Morocco, who made an easy treaty with us be- 
cause we were Unitarians. (The meaning, of course, 
is because the nation put forward no dogmatic state- 
ment of Christian belief.) He spoke concerning the 
Jesuits, African religions, Belzoni, and total deprav- 
ity. On this last topic he told us an anecdote of 
Governor Tichenor, of Vermont. After he had been 
in Congress, he sent for an old friend of his, with 
whom he had often disputed the question, and con- 
fessed to him that he was entirely converted, for his 
political life had established his belief in the total 
depravity of mankind. The President spoke of the 
Treaty of Ghent, and said that the shore fisheries on 
the coast of Labrador were much superior to those 
on the banks of Newfoundland. He said that the 
word ' liberty ' was used in the first treaty, at the 
request of the English commissioners, as a sugar- 
plum to the common people. It was, however, ex- 
pressly admitted that a right and a liberty were 
synonymous." 

"November 6, 1821. — Went to take a farewell of 
the old President, and read to him for the last time 
this season. He thanked me repeatedly, quoting the 
words of the Apostle, and saying that he sorrowed 
most of all that he should see my face no more. He 
appears very well ; but life at his age is precarious. 
He gave me an account of his forming one of a party 
of young men to be inoculated with the small-pox, 
and going with them to be confined for several weeks 
in a pest-house, as was the custom before vaccina- 
tion was introduced. Before going, he called on 



VISITS TO JOHN ADAMS. 71 

Dr. Byles (a personage much noted as a humorist). 
When they parted, Byles said : ' I give you my 
blessing, like a Eomish priest, — Pax tecum. I mean, 
of course, Pox take 'em! He asked me what I had 
been reading. I told him the life of Sir William 
Jones, and I remarked on the excellence of his 
mother. 'Young man,' said the President, ' did you 
ever hear of a great and good man who had not a 
good mother ? ' He mentioned a family which had 
long been influential, and said that the reason was 
because they gave good mothers to their children." 

" August 18, 1822. — Visited the President this 
evening, and heard a number of his pleasant stories. 
He complained of the intolerance of Christians, and 
thought that the old Roman system of permitting 
every man to worship how and what he pleased was 
the true one. He liked the opinion of Justin Martyr 
that every honest, well-disposed, moral man, even if 
he were an atheist, should be accounted a Christian. 
He said that for nearly eighty years most of his lei- 
sure moments had been spent in examining the various 
religions of the world, and that this was the conclu- 
sion he had come to. Some one observed that in 
Kentucky everybody was either a bigot or an atheist. 
He replied that it was pretty much the same all the 
world over." 

It is scarcely necessary to say that random con- 
versational utterances, given without their context, 
and copied without even sequence of dates, are not 
to be taken as the measure of a great man's 
thought on the most solemn of all subjects. Mr. 



72 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Adams always professed himself a Christian, and 
was a constant attendant at church. His son, John 
Quincy Adams, when asked about his father's reli- 
gious belief, used to tell this anecdote. John Adams 
was once visiting a town in Spain, where the arch- 
bishop, wishing to do him all honor, took him through 
the cathedral. During their inspection they came 
upon a shrine where some relics were being exhibited 
by the priest in attendance. At the sight of these 
holy remains, the archbishop and those about him 
bowed their heads and made the sign of the cross upon 
their foreheads. Mr. Adams, however, did not think it 
necessary to imitate this act of devotion. "Comment ! " 
exclaimed the shocked custodian, in French, to his 
superior. " Est-ce que Monsieur riest pas Chretien ? " 
Such a question relating to a guest to whom the 
archbishop was doing the honors was a little awk- 
ward. But the prelate was not disconcerted. He 
replied promptly and with a smile, " Oui, a sa mani- 
ere" — " Yes, in his own way." And, in the judgment 
of his son, this happy hit of the ecclesiastic was the 
best possible answer that could be made to the ques- 
tion. Mr. Adams was in the habit of speaking his 
mind with freedom upon the narrow views and bitter 
temper which were then too common among sects. 
He would tell a story which he has written out in 
a letter to Dr. Bancroft. A gentleman, being called 
upon to give to some missionary fund, confronted the 
man with the subscription book with this expression 
of his views : " There are in and about the town of 
ministers of nine congregations. Not one of 



VISITS TO JOHN ADAMS. 73 

them lives en terms of civility with any other, will 
admit none other into his pulpit, nor be permitted to 
go into the pulpit of any other. Now, if you will 
raise a fund to convert these nine clergymen to 
Christianity, I will contribute as much as any man." 
To conclude this subject, I will give a remark of 
John Adams, which made a great impression upon 
the lady to whom it was addressed, and which has 
lately been recalled to my remembrance. In 1820 
Judge Cranch, a near relative of the President, lost 
two lovely daughters. The lady I refer to visited 
Mr. Adams, to express her sympathy, and said, among 
other things, that she feared the father would hardly 
be able to support such a loss. The old gentleman 
looked her in the face, and replied slowly, in a tone 
of rebuke and with great vigor of emphasis, "Madam, 
I suppose Judge Cranch is a Christian ! " 

" October 30, 1824. — After an early dinner, rode to 
Quincy, to see President Adams and keep his eighty- 
ninth birthday with him. I scarcely ever saw him 
look better or converse with more spirit. He spoke 
of Monday's election, and was especially rejoiced that 
all parties looked with such affection and confidence 
to our present form of government. What might be 
the state of things hereafter, when our territory and 
population increased, he said he could not tell ; but 
he evidently had apprehensions. Finally, he said he 
would console himself with the reflection of an old 
woman he mentioned. This was that God was always 
above the devil." 

"February 14, 1825. — Eode to Quincy with my 



74 FIGUEES OF THE PAST. 

mother, to visit the President and to congratulate him 
on the election of his son. He appeared in good 
spirits, but was considerably affected by the fulfil- 
ment of his highest wishes. In the course of con- 
versation, my mother compared him to that old man 
who was pronounced by Solon to be the happiest of 
mortals when he expired on hearing of his son's suc- 
cess at the Olympic Games. The similarity of their 
situations visibly moved the old gentleman, and tears 
of joy rolled down his cheek. Notwithstanding this 
he afterward said : ' No man who ever held the office 
of President would congratulate a friend on obtaining 
it. He will make one man ungrateful and a hundred 
men his enemies for every office he can bestow.' " 

I now turn back to 1822, and make my concluding 
extract from the diary of October 30. " Visited the 
President in the morning ; and, after writing a letter 
to Mathew Carey from his dictation, conversed with 
him on several literary subjects. Speaking of Cicero's 
treatise ' De Senectute,' he said that he read it every 
year. He declared Cato was quite a Christian in 
feeling when he says, ' Si quis deus mihi largiatur, 
ut ex hac aetate repuerascam et in cunis vagiam, valde 
recusem : nee vero velim, quasi decurso spatio, ad car- 
ceres a calce revocari.' The President recommended 
Cicero and Pliny as models of literary style, and a 
letter written to Lord Mansfield by — the name I can- 
not recall. He thought Lord Bolingbroke's ' Patriot 
King ' was serviceable to public speakers. I do not 
admire Bolingbroke as much as he does ; probably 
from want of taste. I read to him the last part 



VISITS TO JOHN ADAMS. 75 

of the ' Senectute,' where the orator combats the idea 
that the near approach of death is an evil. When 
I reached the passage where Cicero anticipates his 
reunion with those he had known and his meeting 
with those of whom he had read, the old gentleman 
became much excited and exclaimed : ' That is just 
as I feel. Nothing would tempt me to go back. I 
agree with my old friend, Dr. Franklin, who used to 
say on this subject, " We are all invited to a great 
entertainment. Your carriage comes first to the door; 
but we shall all meet there." Who would think such 
an old age a burden, honored in this world and hop- 
ing soon to depart for a better, where he believes he 
shall meet not only the friends he has lost, but all 
the great and good who have gone before him \ " 

This last extract fairly represents the prevailing 
mood of mind of John Adams during his closing 
years. 



TALKS WITH JOHN ADAMS. 



WILL make a few more extracts from my jour- 
-*- nal which report the conversation of the second 
President. 

" Sunday, September 16, 1821. — Dr. Porter preached 
all day ; in the morning from Job vii. 1, and in the 
afternoon from Ezekiel xxxiii. 13. He is quite a good 
preacher and seemingly alive to the doctrines he in- 
culcates. He called to see us after church. In the 
evening my father and myself went, as usual, to 
President Adams's. There we found J. Q. Adams, 
and my father had a long discussion with the Presi- 
dent and his son upon the hopes and benefits of 
peace. J. Q. Adams opposed the idea that war in the 
abstract was wicked, for in every war one side must 
be right. He said: 'I consider an unjust war as the 
greatest of all human atrocities ; but I esteem a just 
one as the highest of all human virtues. War calls 
into exercise the highest feelings and powers of man. 
Alexander, Caesar, and the Crusades were the great 
causes of civilization. If an army could march into 
the heart of Africa and wage war there for twenty 
years, we might hope that civilization and religion 
would be the consequences.' The old President 



TALKS WITH JOHN ADAMS. 7< 

said that he considered wars and battles as he did 
storms and hurricanes. They were the necessary 
evils of nature, which in the end worked for good. 
He thought that human society, like the ocean, needed 
commotion to keep it from putrefying. ' For my own 
part,' he exclaimed, ' I should not like to live in the 
Millennium. It would be the most sickish life im- 
aginable.' Both the gentlemen were of the opinion 
that wars increased population. In this connection 
the old gentleman told a story of the great Conde*. 
After a battle, in which he had lost twenty thousand 
and the enemy thirty thousand men, he was walking 
over the field, with his staff, and observed several 
of his officers weeping. Upon asking them the cause, 
they replied that they could not help feeling sadly 
for the thousands of their fellow-creatures lying dead 
around. ' Oh ! is that all ? ' said the general. ' De- 
pend upon it that Paris will restore the balance again 
in a single night.' My father defended his Peace 
Society, on the ground of the amelioration in the 
condition of mankind that peace would bring to 
pass. Finally, he got the two gentlemen into a dis- 
pute over the merits of Alexander the Great. He 
then rose and left them at loggerheads ; saying, as 
he went out, much to their amusement, 'You see I 
have conquered by dividing the enemies of peace.' " 

The social life in Quincy in those simple days did 
not necessitate late hours, as will be seen from my 
entry two days after this conversation. " We came 
home from Mrs. Black's at the orthodox hour of nine. 
This is such a standing time for breaking up in 



78 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Quincy that the very horses know the impropriety 
of staying a moment later. Mrs. Black's horse, for 
instance, the moment the nine o'clock bell rings, 
always sets off and goes home, whether anybody is 
in the carriage or not ; but he never pretends to stir 
without that warning." 

" October 10, 1822. — Spent a couple of hours this 
forenoon in writing for the President. He keeps 
copies of all the letters he writes, and told me that 
he had done so for most of his life. On returning 
from the debates in Congress, he frequently had to 
sit up till after midnight to copy letters. c Nothing 
but the independence of my country,' he said, ' would 
have tempted me to labor as I have done.' He talked 
very freely of some of his contemporaries, and may 
have been prejudiced in his views. He accused Judge 

of duplicity and of glorying in it, and gave an 

anecdote, by way of example. He thought, with Dr. 
Johnson, that Voltaire was the most correct and in- 
teresting of historians. Speaking of himself, he said : 
' They say I am vain. Thank God I am so. Vanity 
is the cordial drop which makes the bitter cup of life 
go down. I agree with Mrs. Elizabeth Montague, 
who wrote to her uncle, the Bishop, to inquire whether 
the text " All is vanity and vexation of spirit " was not 
badly translated. She thought it ought to be " All is 
vanity or vexation of spirit." She implied that what 
was not vanity was sure to be vexation, and there I 
am with her.' " 

And here my own reports of the conversation of 
Mr. Adams come to an end. I am, however, per- 



TALKS WITH JOHN ADAMS. 79 

mitted to continue the subject by copying a few 
extracts from the diary of my sister, who was in the 
habit of keeping a daily record of events. 

"May 22, 1821. — President Adams paid us a 
morning visit of two hours. Said he had been read- 
ing the history of the Fronde. He talked of Queen 
Elizabeth, and said he thought she was obliged to 
put Mary to death. She had three questions to ask 
herself: Shall I sacrifice my own life, the Protestant 
religion, and the laws of England ? Self-preservation, 
religion, and law required the death of the Scottish 
Queen. Mary's family and education were bad and 
corrupted her character, and she transmitted them to 
her descendants. He advised the reading of Eapin's 
History of England, saying that Hume and Smollett 
were to be read only for their style, as you would 
read a poem like the ' Iliad.' Eapin is an impartial 
historian. If you cannot read his whole history, at 
least read the reign of Elizabeth. Hume and Smollett 
are party historians. Of Dr. Johnson's ' Easselas,' he 
said that he did not like its tendency. It gave a false 
estimate of human life. He mentioned that Bishop 
Butler's sermons were always upon his table, and said 
of Pascal's ' Provincial Letters ' that it was one of 
the most perfect books ever written." 

"June 17, 1822. — Mr. Adams called to see us, 
and read a letter he had just received from Jefferson. 
He was asked to explain why he was now on such 
good terms with Jefferson and received such affec- 
tionate letters from him, after the abuse with which 
he had been loaded by that gentleman. He replied: 



80 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

' I do not believe that Mr. Jefferson ever hated me. 
On the contrary, I believed he always liked me; but 
he detested Hamilton and my whole administration. 
Then he wished to be President of the United States, 
and I stood in his way. So he did everything that 
he could to pull me down. But if I should quarrel 
with him for that, I might quarrel with every man 
I have had anything to do with in life. This is 
human nature. Did you never hear the lines 

' ' I love my friend as well as you, 
But why should he obstruct my view ? " 

I forgive all my enemies and hope they may find 
mercy in heaven. Mr. Jefferson and I have grown 
old and retired from public life. So we are upon 
our ancient terms of good-will.' " 

" June 9, 1823. — Old Mr. Adams and his son 
visited us, and the former talked a great deal. He 
was asked why we heard so little of Mr. Dickinson, 
the author of the ' Farmer's Letters ' and one of the 
signers of the Declaration. ' He became discouraged,' 
replied Mr. Adams, ' and for some time was one of 
the most violent opposers of the Declaration of In- 
dependence. He had a wife and a mother who were 
both Quakers, and they tormented him exceedingly, 
telling him that he was ruining himself and his coun- 
try by the course he was pursuing. If I had had 
such a mother and such a wife, I believe I should 
have shot myself. If they had opposed me, it would 
have made me so very unhappy. I could not have 
lived had I not pursued the course I did. One day in 
Congress, Mifflin, a relative of Dickinson, had a dis- 



TALKS WITH JOHN ADAMS. 81 

pute with him. Dickinson had said, in the course 
of a speech, that, in driving a team of horses, it was 
necessary to rein in the most forward and to encour- 
age the slow and lagging. Mifflin got up and said, 
" Not so, Mr. President. You had better knock the 
dull and lazy horses on the head and put them out 
of the team. It will go on much better without 
them." The circumstances of his family and his own 
timidity made Dickinson take the course he did. He 
was a man of immense property and founded a col- 
lege in Pennsylvania/ Speaking of Washington, Mr. 
Adams said that his character stood upon a firm basis 
of integrity and must always remain unassailable. 
He doubted, however, whether he was so great a 
statesman as was popularly supposed. He said : 
4 Washington died very rich, but gained his property 
in a fair way, — by inheritance from his father, who 
was a man of large fortune ; by the legacy of Mount 
Vernon from his brother ; by his wife, who was the 
widow of a man of fortune. Then he made a good 
deal of money in his youth, when he was surveying 
in the woods. The Farewell Address to the people of 
the United States was, I think, written by himself, 
and then given to Hamilton and Jay. Hamilton 
read it, no doubt ; but I think that Jay finally drew 
it up and finished it. I know that it has been attrib- 
uted to Hamilton ; but it is not in his style. It is 
in Jay's style.' Mr. Adams talked on for two hours. 
He told us how Judge Edmund Quincy knocked 
down a robber whom he met while travelling from 

Braintree to Boston. In lifting up his cane to illus- 

6 



82 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

trate the deed, the old gentleman nearly demolished 
a picture which hung just behind him. When he 
rose to go, he said, ' If I was to come here once a 
day, I should live half a year longer.' The reply 
was made : ' You had much better come twice a 
day, and live a year longer.' He said the sugges- 
tion was a good one, and that he would return 
again in the afternoon." 

"June 12, 1823. — Mr. Adams called, and appeared 
rather feeble, saying that he had never known so cold 
a spring. He spoke of Mr. Quincy's popularity in 
Boston. I said, * It is not to be depended upon/ 
1 No,' said Mr. Adams, ■ it is not. In 1769, when 
Colonel Quincy, his grandfather, was a member from 
Braintree of a Convention of the Province, he made 
several speeches, and in one of them he said, " When 
I was a young man I courted Popularity. I found 
her but a coy mistress, and I soon deserted her/' 
Now I am quite of his opinion. Madame Popularity 
is as whimsical as a girl in her teens.' He talked of 
the ' Pioneers,' by Cooper, and said it had merit as 
a description of the country, but had the usual ten- 
dency of all the Middle and Southern States to de- 
preciate New England. ' Our ancestors, the Puritans/ 
continued Mr. Adams, ' were a most unpopular set of 
men ; yet the world owes all the liberty it possesses 
to them. Mr. Hume acknowledges that this is so. 
The world owes more to the Puritans than to any 
other sect.'" 

During 1825 Gilbert Stuart, the famous artist, came 
to Quincy to paint the portrait of John Adams, then 



TALKS WITH JOHN ADAMS. 83 

in his eighty-ninth year. And this portrait is a re- 
markable work; for a faithful representation of the 
extreme age of the subject would have been painful 
in inferior hands. But Stuart caught a glimpse of 
the living spirit shining through the feeble and de- 
crepit body. He saw the old man at one of those 
happy moments when the intelligence lights up its 
wasted envelope, and what he saw he fixed upon 
his canvas. And the secret of the artist's success 
was revealed in a remark which Mr. Adams made 
to me, while the sittings were in progress. " Speak- 
ing generally/' said he, " no penance is like having 
one's picture done. You must sit in a constrained 
and unnatural position, which is a trial to the tem- 
per. But I should like to sit to Stuart from the 
first of January to the last of December, for he lets 
me do just what I please and keeps me constantly 
amused by his conversation." The method of Stuart 
is given in these few words. It was his habit to 
throw his subject off his guard, and then, by his 
wonderful powers of conversation, he would call up 
different emotions in the face he was studying. He 
chose the best or that which he thought most charac- 
teristic, and with the skill of genius used it to ani- 
mate the picture. 

It may be worth while to mention that I myself 
have sat to the artist to whom we are indebted for 
the likeness of Washington, and that, as I believe, I 
am the only person living who has had that privilege. 
The way it happened was rather peculiar, for I did 
not sit for my own portrait. Stuart was engaged in 



84 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

painting the likeness of a person deceased, who was 
connected with the Bevolution and to whom it was 
said that I bore some resemblance ; and it was owing 
to this circumstance that the sittings came about. He 
used certain of my features as parts of the material 
from which a likeness was to be evolved. The artist 
took snuff constantly, and talked with as much spirit 
as if he had some important personage to entertain. 
He gave me a very interesting account of his early 
struggles in London, and of his being suddenly lifted 
into fame by the exhibition of a single picture. I 
well remember the dramatic force he threw into his 
anecdotes. One of them, I remember, related to an 
Irishman who had acquired a castle by a fortunate 
speculation, and thereupon sent for Stuart to paint 
the portraits of his ancestors. The painter naturally 
supposed that there were miniatures or drawings, 
whose authority he was to follow ; but, on arriving 
at the castle, he was told, to his great surprise, that 
nothing of the kind existed. " Then how the deuce 
am I going to paint your ancestors, if you have no 
ancestors ? " asked Stuart with some temper. " Noth- 
ing easier," rejoined the proprietor. " Go to work 
and paint such ancestors as I ought to have had." 
The artist relished the joke, and, setting to work, 
produced a goodly company of knights in armor, 
judges in bushy wigs, and high-born ladies with 
nosegays and lambs. "And the man was so de- 
lighted with ' his ancestors who came after him/ " 
remarked Stuart, aptly quoting the saying of Shake- 
speare's Slender, " that he paid me twice what he 



TALKS WITH JOHN ADAMS. 85 

agreed to." Notwithstanding this stroke of fortune, 
Stuart complained bitterly of the meagre compensa- 
tion received by artists. * I get fair prices for my 
pictures," said he ; " but the man who works with 
his hands can never become rich. A grocer will 
make more by buying a cargo of molasses in a day 
than my labor can bring me in a year." 

Stuart, it may be said, was naturally improvident, 
as so many artists of genius have been. His pictures 
now command enormous prices. A few copies of his 
Washington, for which he received one hundred dol- 
lars, are now said to be worth three thousand dollars 
each. 



THE OLD PEESIDENT IN PUBLIC. 



FIND in my journals notices of the appearance 
A of John Adams in public upon two occasions. 
The first of these was the Massachusetts Convention 
of 1820. The District of Maine, which had long 
been part of Massachusetts, wished to set up an 
independent government; and this assembly was 
convened to make the necessary changes in an in- 
strument which President Adams had drafted some 
forty years before. It was felt to be the last time 
that the venerable statesman would appear in public. 
He had been sent as a delegate by his native town, 
and the interest excited by his entrance was very 
great. He had declined the presidency of the con- 
vention, which, as a matter of compliment, was unani- 
mously offered him. He was then eighty-six years 
old, and too infirm to discharge the duties of this 
office. Eepresentative bodies at that time wore their 
hats during session, after the manner of the British 
Parliament ; but every head was uncovered when 
the delegate from Quincy was conducted to a seat 
reserved for him on the right of Chief Justice Par- 
ker, who, on the refusal of Mr. Adams, had been 
chosen to preside. I note in my journal that the 



THE OLD PRESIDENT IN PUBLIC. 87 

scene recalled a print of the Eoman Senate, with the 
two consuls presiding in august dignity. And the 
assembly was as remarkable as any convened in the 
best days of the ancient republics. It was composed 
of men of the very first eminence, the flower of the 
State at a time when Massachusetts possessed more 
men of distinguished ability than at any other period 
in her history. 

I heard Mr. Adams speak on one of the few occa- 
sions when he ventured to do so. The subject had 
to do with universal suffrage, as opposed to a prop- 
erty qualification ; and upon this question he took 
what would now be thought the wrong side. But the 
old gentleman had then, as always, the courage of his 
opinions. He gave us a graphic sketch of the hor- 
rors of the French Eevolution, which frightened so 
many of the best Americans of his generation, and 
finished by declaring that when our ancestors made 
a pecuniary qualification necessary for office and 
necessary for electors, they were supported by the 
opinion of all the wise men the world had produced. 
This interesting subject was fully debated in the con- 
vention ; and it must be confessed that the arguments 
in favor of retaining the restriction, which limited 
suffrage to those possessing property to the amount 
of two hundred dollars, have not been weakened by 
subsequent history. It is worth while to do justice 
to the champions of this lost cause by saying that 
they never for a moment admitted that a small prop- 
erty qualification gave the rich an undue weight in 
legislation. They asserted, on the contrary, that, 



88 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

were rich men to act selfishly and as a class, they 
would remove all restrictions. It was the poor man, 
who had laboriously earned the two hundred dollars, 
who lost his political all when those who had no 
stake whatever in the community were admitted to 
vote him down. The rich man, by the influence re- 
sulting from his property over those who had nothing 
to lose and everything to gain from his favor, would 
make himself master of the situation. Has not our 
later political history in a measure justified these 
prophecies ? Of course, there was much said (and it 
was well said) in the convention in favor of unlim- 
ited suffrage; and there is no use in reopening a 
question which has been forever decided. But it 
is simply just to John Adams, and to those who 
stood with him, that the chief reason of their op- 
position should be understood. It was to secure 
a genuine representation of the poor against the 
usurpations of the rich that they wished to impose 
a small pecuniary qualification upon voters. It is 
perhaps better that they should have failed, if we, 
now realizing the danger that they pointed out, shall 
hasten to remove all obstacles which prevent a man 
of reasonable industry from acquiring an independent 
home. Who can doubt that if those statesmen were 
with us to-day, they would tell us that this was the 
way to mitigate and finally abolish the evils which 
they foresaw ? 

The other occasion when I heard President Adams 
speak in public was during the visit of the West 
Point Cadets. This was an event of considerable 



THE OLD PRESIDENT IN PUBLIC. 89 

magnitude at the time. The noble corps, numbering 
more than two hundred students, had marched all the 
way to Boston. Indeed, at that time this was the 
only way to come if they came at all. A fine band 
accompanied them, and they were treated with marked 
hospitality in every town through which they passed. 
We cannot wonder at the interest they excited. Here 
was a military corps, splendidly equipped and com- 
posed of the most promising young men in the coun- 
try. The training at West Point was then far superior 
to any given at the colleges, and these young gentle- 
men were known to be subjected to an intellectual 
discipline which was quite as severe as their physical 
drill. The selectmen of Boston, attended by a cav- 
alcade of citizens, went to meet their visitors at the 
boundary of the town. Salutes of artillery were fired 
as the Cadets crossed the line, and they were con- 
ducted to their camp on the Common with due cere- 
mony. These young Hannibals were said to have 
found their Capua in the staid j Puritan town. It 
may now be admitted that the infatuation about 
them was carried to an extreme. A stand of col- 
ors, bearing the motto A scientia ad gloriam, was sol- 
emnly voted them in town meeting, and presented by 
the selectmen with much Mat. Never was heard 
such martial music as was produced by their band ; 
never were the capabilities of the bugle understood 
until the leading musician of the company performed 
upon that instrument. Governor Brooks, a capital 
judge of tactual merit, declared that their drill was 
perfect. Major Worth, their commander, was a very 



90 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

handsome man, and seemed to the ladies an ideal sol- 
dier, as there can be little doubt that he was. In short, 
the Cadets captivated us ; and dinners, public colla- 
tions, and entertainments of all sorts only did justice 
to our feelings. One day the corps marched to Cam- 
bridge, where the authorities of the college provided 
them with a banquet in Commons Hall. On an- 
other occasion they went to Bunker Hill, and Major 
Worth's marquee was pitched on the angle of the 
redoubt thrown up during the night previous to the 
famous battle. A visit to the venerated statesman 
of Quincy was, of course, included in the programme- 
The occasion was one of great interest, and I find an 
account of it in my journal ; but the reader will 
thank me for suppressing my own narrative, and 
supplying its place with an extract from the diary of 
my sister, who was present at the scene, and which I 
am allowed the privilege of copying. 

"August 14, 1821. — To-day the Cadets visited 
President Adams, and we passed them on the road to 
his residence. Major Worth, who rode a fine horse, 
recognized and saluted us. Our coachman, seeing the 
little fifer of the band running along the road, told 
him to get up behind the carriage, which he did ; and 
our military footman excited some attention. Mr. 
Adams received us with his accustomed kindness. 
The Cadets halted at the foot of the hill to refresh 
themselves at the brook, after their seven-miles walk 
from Boston. They then formed in order and marched 
past the house, with their colors flying and the band 
playing. They went through their exercises in the 






THE OLD PRESIDENT IN PUBLIC. 91 

field opposite, and then stacked their arms and marched 
into the courtyard. Mr. Adams stood on the piazza, 
with the Cadets before him and Major Worth at his 
side. The contrast between the venerable old man 
and the handsome young officer, in the prime of life, 
was very striking. His voice trembled as he began 
to speak, but as he proceeded it grew stronger. He 
began by saying that, although palsied by age, he 
would not deny himself the pleasure of addressing 
them. He spoke of real glory, and held up the char- 
acter of Washington to the admiration and imitation 
of the young men before him. He assured them that 
their advantages of education should give them knowl- 
edge of much more than military tactics. He made 
a very excellent speech. When it was finished, the 
Cadets went to a collation arranged under an awning, 
at the side of the courtyard. After this, they threw 
themselves on the grass under the shade of the horse- 
chestnuts, and many of them were so fatigued that, 
notwithstanding the loud talking, they fell asleep. 
We showed Major Worth the portraits of the Adams 
family, in the drawing-room, and also that of General 
Warren. The Major combines a polished exterior 
with the severity of a rigid disciplinarian ; his men 
feel that his slightest word has the force of an irrevo- 
cable decree. Mr. Adams took his seat with the 
ladies on the piazza, and the new standards presented 
by the authorities of the Town of Boston were dis- 
played before us. The national flag is painted on a 
dark ground, and is never lowered except to the Pres- 
ident of the United States. The regimental standard 



92 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

is painted on a white ground, with a figure of Mi- 
nerva and various appropriate devices. Major Worth, 
wishing to exhibit the standards to the best advan- 
tage, ordered a Cadet to hold them up. The young 
man obeyed, and, thinking he must not move without 
orders, continued to stand like a statue long after the 
ladies and Mr. Adams had finished their survey. It 
was observed, however, that he made out to hold them 
so that he could see the ladies over them. Speaking 
of the presentation of colors yesterday, Major Worth 
said, ' I never felt my courage so severely tried as in 
making that speech to the Governor. I had much 
rather fight a battle ; but, now the colors are in our 
hands, they shall never leave them.' He then made 
an unsuccessful attempt to induce Moniac, the Indian 
Cadet, to be introduced to Mr. Adams and the ladies. 
At last he gave this up, saying, ' He is too bashful.' 
He added : ' I have myself been taken for the Indian 
all along the road. People would point to me and 
say, ■ Look there ! there 's the Indian ! ' The stand- 
ards were now crossed in front of the piazza, and 
the band under the chestnut-tree played charmingly ? 
giving us ' Adams and Liberty,' and other patriotic 
airs. Mr. Adams beat time to the music, and seemed 
as much delighted as any one. The Cadets were then 
drawn up and introduced to Mr. Adams by the officers 
of their respective companies. They passed over the 
piazza one by one, and Mr. Adams shook hands with 
each of them. It was very interesting to watch the 
varied expressions of their countenances. When they 
took leave, Mr. Adams put into the hands of Major 



THE OLD PRESIDENT IN PUBLIC. 93 

Worth a copy of his address, in his own handwriting, 
for which the Major said a cabinet should be made 
at West Point. The Cadets returned to the field op- 
posite, where they had stacked their arms, and went 
through various military movements before they 
marched off. They were to proceed to Milton, where 
an entertainment was to be given them by Mr. B. 
Smith, in the old mansion of Governor Hutchinson. 
It was altogether a most interesting occasion. Presi- 
dent Adams seemed highly gratified, and it was de- 
lightful to us to see the honors attending his old age." 
Of one more act of a public nature performed by 
Mr. Adams I find the record. This was the generous 
gift of one hundred and sixty acres of land to his 
native town, for the purpose of establishing an acad- 
emy. The deeds by which this property was con- 
veyed were executed at my father's house, and my 
name appears as a witness to the documents. At the 
time that it was made, this endowment promised to 
be of greater value than it has yet turned out. No 
property seemed to be of more certain worth than 
farming lands near a large and growing centre of pop- 
ulation. Who imagined that men then living would 
see the time when the food for Boston would be 
brought from the distant West; when a ton of prod- 
uce could be moved at a cost of eight tenths of a 
cent per mile, and a year's subsistence could be car- 
ried one thousand miles to the laborer at the price of 
his wages for a single day ! Not having these antici- 
pations, the townsmen of Mr. Adams could not con- 
ceive that a half-century must elapse before a " stone 



94 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

school-house " could be built from the profits of the 
pastures which had been given for this purpose. It 
is only recently that the academy has risen on the 
site its founder designated. This was over the cel- 
lar of the house in which Governor Hancock was 
born ; better known as that John Hancock whose 
name, written with such vigorous penmanship, heads 
the Declaration of Independence. In the deeds by 
which he conveyed this property the President did 
not confine himself to those dry technicalities which 
make such instruments the dreariest of literature, 
but said his mind freely and with characteristic 
strength. His old friend, Hancock, is designated as 
" that generous, disinterested, bountiful benefactor of 
his country." Lemuel Bryant, pastor of the First 
Church, is described as " reverend, learned, disinter- 
ested, and eloquent." His suggestions to the future 
masters of the academy are quaint enough to be 
quoted : — 

" But I hope the future masters will not think me 
too presumptuous if I advise them to begin their 
lessons in Greek and Hebrew by compelling their 
pupils to take their pens and write, over and over 
again, copies of the Greek and Hebrew alphabets, 
in all their variety of characters, until they are per- 
fect masters of those alphabets and characters. This 
will be as good an exercise in chirography as any 
they can use, and will stamp those characters and 
alphabets upon their tender minds and vigorous 
memories so deeply that the impression will never 
wear out." 



THE OLD PRESIDENT IN PUBLIC. 95 

New methods in education have undoubtedly su- 
perseded those in vogue in the time of President 
Adams ; but the school that he generously founded 
is likely to adopt all the modern improvements, 
The late Dr. William E. Dimmock — one of the 
best teachers our country has produced — was its 
first master, and he gave six years of absorbing 
labor to the service. His was the important work 
of establishing the traditions of the school ; and his 
gracious figure stands upon the background of its 
past like that of Dr. Arnold at Eugby. His successor 
was Dr. William Everett, of whose self-sacrificing 
devotion to the academy it is, happily, not yet time 
to speak. 

In the cemeteries about Boston there are placed 
beside many of the monuments iron plates with the 
words " Perpetual Care " cast upon them in the most 
durable fashion. The Adams Academy — the wor- 
thiest monument of the distinguished friend of my 
youth — bears no similar inscription. Heaven for- 
bid that such a reminder should be necessary for any 
citizen of his native town ! 



"ECLIPSE" AGAINST THE WOELD. 



/^\N the 27th of May, 1823, nearly fifty-seven years 
^^ ago, there was a great excitement in the city of 
New York, for on that day the long-expected race of 
" Eclipse against the world " was to be decided on the 
race-course on Long Island. It was an amicable con- 
test between the North and the South. The New 
York votaries of the turf — a much more prominent 
interest than at present — had offered to run Eclipse 
against any horse that could be produced, for a purse 
of $10,000; and the Southern gentlemen had accepted 
the challenge. I could obtain no carriage to take me 
to the course, as every conveyance in the city was 
engaged. Carriages of every description formed an 
unbroken line from the ferry to the ground. They 
were driven rapidly, and were in very close connec- 
tion; so much so that when one of them suddenly 
stopped, the poles of at least a dozen carriages broke 
through the panels of those preceding them. The 
drivers were naturally much enraged at this accident ; 
but it seemed a necessary consequence of the crush 
and hurry of the day, and nobody could be blamed 
for it. The party that I was with, seeing there was 
no chance of riding, was compelled to foot it. But 



" ECLIPSE " AGAINST THE WORLD. 97 

after plodding some way, we had the luck to fall in 
with a returning carriage, which we chartered to take 
us to the course. On arriving, we found an assembly 
which was simply overpowering ; it was estimated that 
there were over one hundred thousand persons upon 
the ground. The conditions of the race were four-mile 
heats, the best two in three ; the course was a mile 
in length. A college friend, the late David P. Hall, 
had procured for me a ticket for the jockey-box, 
which commanded a view of the whole field. There 
was great difficulty in clearing the track, until Eclipse 
and Sir Henry (the Southern horse) were brought to 
the stand. They were both in brave spirits, throwing 
their heels high into the air; they soon effected that 
scattering of the multitude which all other methods 
had failed to accomplish. And now a great disap- 
pointment fell, like a wet blanket, on more than half 
the spectators. It was suddenly announced that 
Purdy, the jockey of Eclipse, had had a difficulty 
with his owner and refused to ride. To substitute 
another in his place seemed almost like giving up 
the contest ; but the man was absolutely stubborn, 
and the time had come. Another rider was provided, 
and the signal for the start was given. I stood ex- 
actly opposite the judges' seat, where the mastering 
excitement found its climax. Off went the horses, 
every eye straining to follow them. Four times they 
dashed by the judges' stand, and every time Sir 
Henry was on the lead. The spirits of the Southern- 
ers seemed to leap up beyond control, while the de- 
pression of the more phlegmatic North set in like a 

7 



9B FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

physical chill. Directly before me sat John Ean- 
dolph, the great orator of Virginia; a man to be 
noticed more particularly in a succeeding paper. 
Apart from his intense sectional pride, he had per- 
sonal reasons to rejoice at the turn things were tak- 
ing ; for he had bet heavily on the contest, and, it 
was said, proposed to sail for Europe upon clearing 
enough to pay his expenses. Half an hour elapsed 
for the horses to get their wind, and again they were 
brought to the stand. But now a circumstance oc- 
curred which raised a deafening shout from the par- 
tisans of the North. Purdy was to ride. How his 
scruples had been overcome did not appear, but there 
he stood before us, and was mounting Eclipse. Again, 
amidst breathless suspense, the word "Go!" was heard, 
and again Sir Henry took the inside track, and kept 
the lead for more than two miles and a half. Eclipse 
followed close on his heels and, at short intervals, 
attempted to pass. At every spurt he made to get 
ahead, Eandolph's high-pitched and penetrating voice 
was heard each time shriller than before : " You can't 
do it, Mr. Purdy ! You can't do it, Mr. Purdy ! You 
can't do it, Mr. Purdy ! " But Mr. Purdy did do it. 
And as he took the lead what a roar of excitement 
went up! Tens of thousands of dollars were in sus- 
pense, and although I had not a cent depending, I 
lost my breath, and felt as if a sword had passed 
through me. Purdy kept the lead and came in a 
length or so ahead. The horses had run eight miles, 
and the third heat was to decide the day. The con- 
fidence on the part of the Southern gentlemen was 



" ECLIPSE " AGAINST THE WORLD. 99 

abated. The manager of Sir Henry rode up to the 
front of our box and, calling to a gentleman, said, 
" You must ride the next heat ; there are hundreds 
of thousands of Southern money depending on it. 
That boy don't know how to ride ; he don't keep his 
horse's mouth open ! " The gentleman positively re- 
fused, saying that he had not been in the saddle for 
months. The manager begged him to come down, 
and John Eandolph was summoned to use his elo- 
quent persuasions. When the horses were next 
brought to the stand, behold the gentleman appeared, 
booted and spurred, with a red jacket on his back, 
and a jockey cap on his head. On the third heat 
Eclipse took the lead and, by dint of constant whip- 
ping and spurring, won by a length this closely con- 
tested race. 

There was never contest more exciting. Sectional 
feeling and heavy pecuniary stakes were both in- 
volved. The length of time before it was decided, 
the change of riders, the varying fortunes, all intensi- 
fied the interest. I have seen the great Derby races ; 
but they finish almost as soon as they begin, and 
were tame enough in comparison to this. Here for 
nearly two hours there was no abatement in the 
strain. I was unconscious of everything else, and 
found, when the race was concluded, that the sun had 
actually blistered my cheek without my perceiving 
it. The victors were of course exultant, and Purdy, 
mounted on Eclipse, was led up to the judges' stand, 
the band playing " See the Conquering Hero comes." 
The Southerners bore their losses like gentlemen, and 



100 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

with a good grace. It was suggested that the com- 
- ' £arative chances of Adams and Jackson at the ap- 
proaching Presidential election should be tested by a 
vote of that gathering. "Ah," said Mr. Randolph, 
■ if the question of the Presidency could be settled 
by this assembly there would be no opposition ; Mr. 
Purdy would go to the White House by acclamation." 
I have thus endeavored to describe, from my jour- 
nal of that period, the first great contest between the 
North and the South, — a contest in which the grand- 
fathers of many of my readers were deeply interested. 
It seems to have foreshadowed the sterner conflict 
that occurred forty years afterwards. The victory 
resulted in both cases from the same cause, — the 
power of endurance. It was, in the language of the 
turf, bottom against speed The North had no braver 
men than were found in the Confederate ranks ; it 
had no abler generals than Lee and Jackson. It had 
only greater resources. Let us hope that, as on the 
former occasion, the gentlemen of the South will 
acquiesce in a result that neither valor nor skill could 
avert, and that, uniting their spirit with the re- 
sources and energy of the North, we shall together 
advance the virtue, prosperity, and glory of our com- 
mon country. 



LAFAYETTE IN BOSTON. 



' I "'HE visit of General Lafayette to America, nearly 
-*- fifty years after the foundation of the nation 
which he had so generously assisted, was an event 
to which the world's history can furnish no parallel. 
The great experiment of self-government was held 
to be a triumphant success. Our population and 
prosperity had increased beyond all precedent, and 
our navy bore our flag over every sea. It was as if 
one of the dead heroes of the past, to whom the in- 
debtedness of mankind is always acknowledged, were 
to be reanimated to receive the gratitude of a living 
world. Never was the benefactor of a people awarded 
a homage so universal, so spontaneous, so heartfelt, 
so intelligent. There are, doubtless, men living, past 
their threescore and ten years, who as school-boys 
hung upon the outskirts of the crowds which sur- 
rounded the hero. But of the grown men who occu- 
pied official positions during the visits of Lafayette 
to Boston, and were on this account brought into 
personal contact with him, I believe that I am the 
sole survivor. As aide-de-camp to the Governor of 
Massachusetts, I stood at the side of Lafayette on 
that memorable occasion when he laid the corner- 



102 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

stone of the monument on Bunker Hill ; and when 
he left the State I occupied with him the back seat 
of the carriage, enjoying his conversation and the 
ovations of the towns through which we passed. 

The intelligence of the arrival of Lafayette in the 
harbor of New York, on the morning of the 15th of 
August, 1824, spread through that city with a rapid- 
ity which our present methods of electrical commu- 
nication could scarcely have increased. Multitudes 
poured into the street, in expectation of instantly 
beholding him. But, at the request of the city au- 
thorities, he landed at Staten Island, and waited at 
the house of the Vice-President till arrangements 
could be made for his public reception. In a letter 
now before me, written to my father from Paris, the 
General had said : " While I profoundly feel the 
honor intended by the offer of a national ship, I hope 
I shall incur no blame by the determination I have 
taken to embark, as soon as it is in my power, on 
board a private vessel. Whatever port I shall first 
attain, I shall with the same eagerness hasten to 
Boston, and present its beloved, revered inhabitants 
with the homage of my affectionate gratitude and 
devoted respect." And he remained true to his in- 
tention to "hasten to Boston," notwithstanding the 
urgent desire of the New York committee that he 
should remain on the island till the 17th, to give 
them more time to prepare for his reception. His 
words, as reported at the time, were these : " I can- 
not remain with you, for I must be in Boston, 
that I may visit Cambridge on Commencement Day, 



LAFAYETTE IN BOSTON. 103 

where I shall meet so many of my old friends. You 
know my attachment to you all. I am heartily glad 
to see you; but I must immediately visit Boston, 
and will return to you again." After a magnificent 
reception from the Empire City, Lafayette left for 
Boston on the 20 th of August, attended by a nu- 
merous civil and military escort. As he proceeded 
on his way, the whole country rose to behold and 
welcome him. Every town and village through which 
he passed was ornamented or illuminated, and every 
testimony of gratitude and affection which imagina- 
tion could devise was offered to the nation's guest. 

On Tuesday, the 24th of August, as an officer 
of the Boston Light Infantry, I appeared on the 
Common at seven o'clock. About eight we pro- 
ceeded to the Neck, to meet the General, who had 
spent the night at the seat of Governor Eustis, in 
Eoxbury. The military was accompanied by a cav- 
alcade of some twelve hundred horsemen. Of these 
the carters and woodwharfingers of the city, dressed 
in frocks of snowy whiteness, were very conspicu- 
ous. They had the effect of mounted priests ; and, 
being priests of useful labor, which had built up 
the community, they were, no doubt, as honorable 
and useful as if they had received ecclesiastical ordi- 
nation. At the city line, where we had a good wait, 
we were furnished with bread and cheese, at the 
expense of the municipality, and (credite posteri ! ) 
with free punch. The excellent Dr. Miner had not 
then arrived upon the scene, and we had no one to 
tell us that the provision of this seductive fluid was 



104 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

an unwarrantable employment of the city funds. 
Had any one proposed to provide free books at the 
expense of the taxpayers, there would have been 
much indignation. We should have been aghast at 
the impudence of such a proposal ; but a few glasses 
of punch was another matter. We have changed our 
views here in Boston since those good old times, and 
changed them much for our advantage. 

The first sight we caught of the General, as he 
drove up to the line in an open barouche, drawn by 
four white horses, awakened an enthusiasm which I 
shall not attempt to describe. The remarkable his- 
tory of the man, which the events of a stirring half- 
century have now obliterated from the general mind, 
was then fresh and well known. He had sounded 
all the depths and shoals of honor. He had passed 
from every enjoyment that wealth and royal favor 
could bestow, to poverty and a dungeon. No novel- 
ist would dare to imagine the rapid vicissitudes which 
had marked his life since he had left America. Here 
he had joined our fathers in their glorious contest 
for liberty. He had freely given us his money and 
his blood. This was an exceptional republic which 
he had established. It would spurn the heartless 
proverb, and show itself not ungrateful. 

We took up the line of march in inverted order, 
and, for some reason, it came to pass that I led the 
procession, though my military rank did not entitle 
me to this distinction. We passed through immense 
throngs, with all the noise that bells, cannon, and 
human lungs were capable of producing. Every 



LAFAYETTE IN BOSTON. 105 

countenance fairly beamed with admiration. Every 
one wore a Lafayette badge stamped upon blue rib- 
bon. Here is mine, fastened upon the page of the 
journal which records these events. It is a little 
faded, but otherwise is in excellent preservation. 
Among the decorations I remember an arch thrown 
across Washington Street, inscribed with this stanza, 
written by Charles Sprague : — 

"Our fathers in glory shall sleep 

That gathered with thee to the fight ; 
But their sons will eternally keep 
The tablet of gratitude bright. 
We bow not the neck and we bend not the knee, 
But our hearts, Lafayette, we surrender to thee." 

The poet here hit upon the right word. It was a 
surrender, complete and without conditions. It was 
universal ; for the population of Boston was then homo- 
geneous and American, and the cultivated classes of 
our somewhat stiff and exclusive city led the wild 
enthusiasm of the streets. When we reached the 
State House, the officers of the militia were presented 
to Lafayette; and here I had the honor of begin- 
ning such acquaintance with the hero as a young 
man, totally obscure, may have with an illustrious 
personage of history. The same evening I met him 
in private at my father's house, and had the privilege 
of listening to his conversation with the older mem- 
bers of the family. George Washington Lafayette 
accompanied his father, with M. Levasseur, his secre- 
tary, and Colonel Colden, of New York. I fear I was 
too busy in committing the Latin oration that I was 



106 FIGUKES OF THE PAST. 

to give the next day to take much note of what was 
said. I had been on my feet since sunrise, in the 
character of a soldier, and must be prepared to put 
on a gown and talk Latin on the morrow in the char- 
acter of a scholar ; and so my journal shows that I 
did not feel equal to playing the Bos well, as I really 
ought to have done. One story told that evening by 
Dr. Bowditch, the celebrated mathematician, I am 
able to give. He said that, on his way to his office, 
whence he intended to view the procession, he was 
stopped on Washington Street, which he was about 
to cross. The military escort was passing, and he 
ascended a flight of steps to wait, in quiet dignity, 
till the show had gone by. But this was not to be ; 
for the moment he saw Lafayette he declared that 
he lost all self-command. He seemed to be literally 
out of his senses ; and when he recovered them, it 
was to find himself struggling with the crowd at the 
side of the barouche and huzzaing with all his might. 
Such was the confession of the great Dr. Bowditch. 
Those who did not have his weight of brains to keep 
them steady need no excuse for yielding to the 
excitement of the time. 

I have already given some account of the memora- 
ble Commencement of Harvard, and of the masters 
valedictory, which my classmate, Withington, had gen- 
erously relinquished to me on that occasion. I copy 
from my journal the entry made at the close of the 
succeeding day : — 

" August 26, 1824. — Eode to Cambridge, about 
nine, to attend the meeting of the Phi Beta Kappa. 



LAFAYETTE IN BOSTON. 107 

The procession of about two hundred members entered 
the church about twelve. Again Lafayette was be- 
fore us. The audience was as great as the one which 
assembled yesterday. Mr. Ware gave a beautiful 
poem, with the necessary allusions to Lafayette; and 
then Mr. Everett pronounced an oration which sur- 
passed all I had ever heard. When, toward the con- 
clusion, he alluded to the noble conduct of our guest 
in procuring a ship for his own transportation, at a 
time when all America was too poor to offer him a 
passage to her shores, the scene was overpowering. 
Every man in the assembly was in tears! 1 

I believe that this last expression was literally 
true. I have heard the great orators of my day at 
their best ; but it was never given to any one of 
them to lift up an audience as Everett did upon 
this occasion. I can conceive of nothing more mag- 
nificent in the way of oratory. Many who have 
listened to Mr. Everett's polished periods during the 
latter part of his life may question the supreme effect 
he produced. They will say that he was by nature 
a conservative, seldom in sympathy with the heart 
of popular feeling, and that there was always a sus- 
picion of a chill upon his matchless rhetoric. I can 
only say that the words he spoke that day in the 
venerable church in Cambridge were as full of fire 
as of music. Eobertson, the historian, calls the elo- 
quence of Cicero " a splendid conflagration." To 
those to whom this term has any meaning, it will 
give all that language can suggest of the nature of 
the great oratorical triumph of Edward Everett. It 



108 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

is just possible that among my readers there may be 
found some venerable man who was present upon 
that occasion. If so, I confidently appeal to him to 
say whether I have exaggerated — whether it is pos- 
sible that I could exaggerate — the magnificent power 
with which the orator lifted that great assembly. 
For such a possible reader I cannot resist quoting 
the language of Everett, to bring back the wonderful 
scene we witnessed together. Those to whom the 
following paragraph is only so many printed words 
will, at least, gather from them the historical inter- 
est of the occasion which so unsealed the lips of the 
most cautious of orators. They may serve to justify 
the preservation of those reminiscences of the visit 
of Lafayette which I shall hereafter offer. 

" Welcome, friend of our fathers, to our shores ! 
Happy are our eyes that behold those venerable 
features ! Enjoy a triumph such as never conqueror 
or monarch enjoyed, — the assurance that throughout 
America there is not a bosom which does not beat 
with joy and gratitude at the sound of your name. 
You have already met and saluted, or will soon meet, 
the few that remain of the ardent patriots, prudent 
counsellors, and brave warriors with whom you were 
associated in achieving our liberty. But you have 
looked round in vain for the faces of many who 
would have lived years of pleasure on a day like 
this, with their old companion in arms and brother 
in peril. Lincoln and Greene, Knox and Hamil- 
ton, are gone ; the heroes of Saratoga and Yorktown 
have fallen before the only foe they could not meet. 



LAFAYETTE IN BOSTON. 109 

Above all, the first of heroes and of men, the friend 
of your youth, the more than friend of his country, 
rests in the bosom of the soil he redeemed. On the 
banks of his Potomac he lies in glory and in peace. 
You will revisit the hospitable shades of Mt. Vernon ; 
but him whom you venerated as we did you will not 
meet at its door. His voice of consolation, which 
reached you in the Austrian dungeons, cannot now 
break its silence, to bid you welcome to his own roof. 
But the grateful children of America will bid you 
welcome in his name. Welcome ! thrice welcome to 
our shores ! And whithersoever throughout the limits 
of the continent your course shall take you, the ear 
that hears you shall bless you, the eye that sees you 
shall bear witness to you, and every tongue exclaim, 
with heartfelt joy, Welcome ! Welcome ! Lafayette ! ,: 
The voice of the orator ceased and there was per- 
fect silence. It seemed as if it could never be broken. 
The lift was altogether too great for immediate ap- 
plause. When the response came, at last, it was 
something never to be forgotten. 



LAFAYETTE AND COLONEL HUGER 



TVTOTHING could have been more perfect than 
-*■ ^ the weather of that jubilee week when Boston 
first welcomed Lafayette. Not a drop of rain de- 
scended during the day ; but during the night showers 
were abundant, and these laid the dust and covered 
the country with verdure. On Sunday it was sup- 
posed that the General would attend the Catholic 
Church. " Oh, no ! " said he. " Let me go to Brattle 
Street Meeting-house and sit in Governor Hancock's 
pew. There I used to attend the services of my good 
friend, Dr. Cooper, and I should feel strange in any 
other place of worship." And there he did go ; and 
the clergyman who preached upon that occasion was 
the historian of New England, the then Keverend and 
afterwards Honorable John G. Palfrey. On the 
afternoon of Sunday, in spite of the Massachusetts 
statute which made his conduct illegal, the General 
drove to Quincy, to dine with the venerable John 
Adams. But. out of respect to the day, the four 
white horses which drew him about were summarily 
cut down to two, and it is worth while to notice 
that from the crowds which assembled to see him 
pass, in the town of Quincy, there arose no sound 



LAFAYETTE AND COLONEL HUGER. Ill 

of welcome. I mention this fact as an interest- 
ing testimony to the respect for the Sabbath that 
was at that time entertained by a very mixed body 
of sightseers. Of course, on a week-day no police 
would have been strong enough to repress the shout- 
ing. 

The General was to stop to make a friendly visit 
at my father's house in Quincy, and it was an inter- 
esting moment when we saw his carriage driven down 
the avenue. " I have been at this house before," said 
Lafayette, after he had greeted us all with his tender 
French cordiality. " I was here during the Eevolu- 
tionary War, as the guest of your great-grandfather." 
And there happened to be a daughter of his former 
host there present, my great-aunt Storer, then in 
her ninetieth year. She was much overcome on 
again meeting Lafayette, and declared that his pres- 
ence took her back among the trials and sufferings 
of the Ee volution. During this visit my sister has 
noted, in a journal which she has kindly lent me, 
that Washington Lafayette talked more than ever 
before and appeared to better advantage. His man- 
ners were not prepossessing, and he generally moved 
about as if depressed by the gigantic shadow cast by 
his father. His position was in some respects awk- 
ward ; but on this occasion he came out of his shell, 
— at least to the ladies of the family. He confessed 
to them that he was so affected by the scenes he wit- 
nessed and the manner in which his father was received 
that he had great difficulty in commanding himself. 
His may have been one of those not uncommon 



112 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

characters whose extreme sensitiveness conceals itself 
under the mask of indifference. He was not popu- 
lar ; but the opinion of the time very likely did him 
injustice. 

On Monday the reception culminated in a grand 
militia review, which was finer than anything which 
had then taken place in Boston. There were two 
hundred tents on the Common, beside a huge marquee, 
in which twelve hundred people sat down to dinner. 
The crowds which flocked in from the country had 
a peculiarity which moved the astonishment of a 
gentleman from New York. " Why," said he, " all 
these people are of one race, and they behave like 
members of one family ; whereas with us a crowd 
is an assembly of all the nations upon earth." I 
did military duty for thirteen hours, and when at 
length allowed to take off my soldier's clothes, at- 
tended a brilliant reception given by the General to 
the ladies of the city. This was held at the house 
forming the corner of Park and Beacon Streets. The 
rooms were finely decorated, having, among other 
interesting objects, pictures of the first five Presi- 
dents, all taken by Stuart. But this brilliant scene 
was not to end the day. " After the reception," to 
quote from my journal, " I proceeded to Mr. W. H. 
Eliot's, where I was an active and efficient manager 
(I will not suppress the egotism) to a most delight- 
ful ball. One of the rooms was ornamented with the 
General's portrait, surrounded by wreaths of flowers. 
When the original entered, the dancing ceased at once 
and the band broke into a march." 



LAFAYETTE AND COLONEL HUGER. 113 

And so we Boston people received the guest of 
America, on his first visit to our city, fifty-six years 
ago. As I shall have something to say of his second 
visit, on the memorable fiftieth anniversary of the 
Battle of Bunker Hill, I pass over other incidents 
to introduce a gallant gentleman, whose name was 
intimately associated with that of the hero who had 
won our hearts. During his visit Lafayette once 
exclaimed, with ardor, in my presence : " There is 
one man in America whom, of all others, I long to 
meet, — a man whom I saw but for ten minutes, and 
this was thirty years ago ; but I saw him under cir- 
cumstances which engraved his countenance forever 
upon my mind. I count the moments till I can em- 
brace my good friend, Colonel Huger, of South Caro- 
lina." This gentleman was well known as the hero 
of the attempt to rescue Lafayette from the Austrian 
prison, where he was held during a miserable cap- 
tivity of more than five years. The General seldom 
alluded to his prison life. Its details were too shock- 
ing to recall. He had been seized for the republican 
sentiments he was known to profess, and told that 
he should never leave his narrow and filthy dungeon. 
He was deprived of the commonest conveniences of 
life, and for a long time his family and friends could 
get no evidence of his fate. At length, the physician 
of the prison made a formal statement to the 'Austrian 
Government that the prisoner would die unless he 
were allowed to breathe a purer air. The petition 
was returned, indorsed with this official reply: "No; 
he is not sick enough yet." At length an outcry 

8 



114 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

of public indignation in Europe and America forced 
his keepers to permit Lafayette to take occasional 
exercise in a carriage, accompanied by two soldiers. 
It was during one of these rides that his rescue 
was attempted. Soon after Lafayette returned to 
New York, my family received letters from him, 
introducing the gentleman he had so longed to 
meet. 

The position of a young lawyer whose services are 
not demanded by numerous clients is rather discourag- 
ing. Nevertheless the situation has its advantages, 
as I found when it appeared that I was the only 
member of the family who could command the leisure 
to attend to Colonel Huger. It devolved upon me 
to drive this interesting person about the environs of 
Boston, and to introduce him to such gentlemen as 
he desired to meet. On different occasions we drove 
in a chaise (in those days there were no four-wheeled 
vehicles for two persons) to Cambridge, Koxbury, and 
Charlestown, and visited together Governor Eustis, 
Governor Brooks, Commodore Bainbridge, John Ad- 
ams, and other personages of distinction. My com- 
panion had all that charm of a high-bred Southerner 
which wrought such peculiar fascination upon those 
inheriting Puritan blood. But, besides this, there 
was his romantic association with the attempted 
rescue of Lafayette ; and Scott's novels, then in the 
full blossom of their popularity, celebrated no hero 
whose adventures seemed more chivalrous and thrill- 
ing. " I simply considered myself the representative 
of the young men of America, and acted accordingly," 



LAFAYETTE AND COLONEL HUGER. 115 

said Huger, modestly, when a lady expressed the 
feelings of admiration with which he was universally 
regarded. But there was no false modesty about the 
man, and upon proper occasions he was willing to 
tell the story, which every one who met him was 
desirous to hear. I not only heard him give the 
narrative more than once, but during our drives had 
the opportunity of questioning him upon every de- 
tail. Moreover, there is a journal before me in which 
his words were taken down an hour after they were 
uttered. From these sources I shall be able to record, 
in a future paper, the story of the attempted rescue 
substantially as it came from his own lips. 

In easy conversation, one day, at my father's table, 
the Colonel told us something of his history subse- 
quent to this event. He had married a daughter of 
I. Pinkney, Esq., and soon after purchased an estate 
on the high hills of Santee, about a hundred miles 
from Charleston, where he established his family. 
His wife, though very young, brought up in the gay- 
est society, and even accustomed to the splendor of 
a court (her father had been our minister to Eng- 
land), accepted the change with cheerfulness. " And 
here," said Huger, " I have resided ever since, occu- 
pied in taking care of my farm and in educating a 
family of eleven children." He mentioned that the 
condition of the slaves in the part of Carolina where 
he lived was much less painful and degrading than 
od the lowlands by the seaboard. " I am not 
wealthy," he said, " and am contemplating a further 
remove toward the mountains. The land there is 



116 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

cheaper and richer, and I may acquire more prop- 
erty to divide among my children." He told us 
that his visit to the North was solely to meet La- 
fayette ; but, after he had seen him, he felt a desire 
to see the New England States, and so had come to 
Boston. 

Among the houses to which I took Colonel Huger, 
none was pleasanter than that of Professor Ticknor. 
This gentleman, afterward so well known in the 
world of letters, then enjoyed the distinction of hav- 
ing seen Europe; and in those days this was a dis- 
tinction, almost as great a one as not to have run across 
the ocean is now. There seemed to be a cosmopolitan 
spaciousness about his very vestibule. He received 
company with great ease, and a simple supper was 
always served to his evening visitors. Prescott, 
Everett, Webster, Hillard, and other noted Bosto- 
nians — well mixed with the pick of such strangers 
as happened to be in the city — furnished a social 
entertainment of the first quality. Politics — at least 
American politics — were never mentioned ; but di- 
plomacy, travels, literature, and science furnished 
inexhaustible topics for conversation. The host was 
an admirable narrator, and gave his foreign expe- 
riences with such spirit that they would stick in 
the memory. In proof of which, there comes to me 
a little scene he described at Almack's, the fashion- 
able and exclusive ball-room of London. " I was 
standing," said Mr. Ticknor, " by Lady Jersey, who 
was the patroness of the ball. It was past eleven 
o'clock, and the rule had been made that no one 



LAFAYETTE AND COLONEL HUGER. 117 

should be admitted after that hour. Suddenly there 
was a commotion, and word was brought to Lady 
Jersey that the Duke of Wellington was below and 
desired to enter. " Tell his Grace," said the Lady, 
"that I am happy in declining to admit one after 
whom no one will presume to apply." The story 
showed that British snobbishness to rank and title 
was not without its limits, and that a woman who 
is ready enough may mix a compliment with a re- 
fusal that will dull the force of the blow. 

I failed to mention that during Lafayette's first 
visit Mr. Ticknor gave him a supper-party, which 
was marked by a little ceremony that had quite a 
foreign grace about it. A likeness of Lafayette, 
engraved upon bright red paper, was found under 
the glass by the side of each plate. As the guests 
seated themselves at the table, every one, except the 
General, took up the picture and pinned it upon some 
part of the dress, where it looked like the decoration 
of a noble order. This arrangement, if I may trust 
the statement of the journal before me, was devised 
by M. Wallenstein, a gentleman attached to the 
Eussian legation, and whom John Quincy Adams 
had pronounced the most intelligent member of the 
diplomatic corps he ever met in the United States. 
Though very plain in person, Wallenstein had great 
personal fascination. I met him frequently about 
this time, at my father's house, as well as that of 
Mr. Ticknor. To say that he was an object of inter- 
est and attention in Boston even while Lafayette 
was with us, is to sound his praises to the utmost. 



118 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Wallenstein remained some years in this country, 
published a translation of the letters of Madame de 
Eiedesel, and made hosts of friends. He was after- 
ward transferred to a diplomatic station in South 
America, where he married a Portuguese lady, and 
died in 1845. 



HOW COLONEL HUGEK TOLD THE STOEY. 



I FULFIL the promise made in my last paper by 
giving the story of the attempted rescue of La- 
fayette as told by Colonel Huger when dining at my 
fathers house in Quincy, October 3, 1825. The re- 
port, of course, is not stenographic ; but as it is chiefly 
taken from very copious notes made at the time by 
my sister, Miss E. S. Quincy, the reader may rely 
upon its substantial accuracy. 

" When I first saw Lafayette I was a child three 
years old. By a singular accident my father's 
house, on North Island, South Carolina, was the 
first American roof which sheltered him. Late one 
night in the year 1776 our family was alarmed by 
a loud knocking at the door. Fearing an attack 
of the enemy, we barred our windows and refused 
admittance. At length we were made to understand 
that the applicants were the Marquis de la Fayette 
and the Baron de Kalb. They had taken to their 
boat, to avoid British cruisers, and had been directed 
by some of our servants to my father's house. They 
were of course admitted, with every token of wel- 
come and hospitality, and, accompanied by my father, 
left after a day's delay for Charleston, from whence 



120 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

they at once proceeded to the American army. Young 
as I then was, the incident made no distinct impres- 
sion upon my mind." 

After a short pause, Colonel Huger proceeded to 
the events that led to his second meeting with La- 
fayette. 

" The merit of the contrivance to rescue Lafayette 
from the Castle at Olmutz belongs not to me, but to 
Dr. Bollmann. He was a Hanoverian physician, of 
great courage and address, who had been engaged by 
friends of Lafayette to discover his prison and at- 
tempt his rescue. Bollmann commenced his search 
in 1793, but for some time could only learn that the 
Eussian Government had given Austria the custody 
of this dangerous republican, and that he was proba- 
bly somewhere in that country. The next year, after 
many ineffectual attempts, he found out that certain 
French prisoners had been taken to Olmutz, a strong 
fortress in Moravia. Suspecting Lafayette might be 
one of them, Bollmann at once repaired to Olmutz, 
where he managed to make the acquaintance of the 
military surgeon of the fortress. Bepresenting him- 
self to be a physician, travelling for improvement, he 
inquired one day, as if from idle curiosity, whether 
there were any French prisoners in the fortress. 'Oh, 
yes,' was the reply ; * and Lafayette is among them.' 
Bollmann then mentioned that he had some French 
books with him that he would gladly lend this famous 
prisoner. He was informed that this would be per- 
mitted, provided the books were inspected by the 
proper officer. The books were accordingly sent ; but 



HOW COLONEL HUGER TOLD THE STORY. 121 

in one of them, upon the margins of separate pages, 
Bollmann had scrawled words which, when put to- 
gether, formed the following sentence : ' If you read 
this booh with as much care as that lent your friend at 
Magdeburg, you will receive equal satisfaction' The 
person referred to had received an account of con- 
certed plans for his escape from prison written in 
lemon-juice on the blank pages of a book. Lafay- 
ette understood the allusion, and, holding the book 
to the fire, soon deciphered a request to instruct his 
friends how to attempt his rescue. The book was 
then returned, and Bollmann, upon examining closely, 
found the words ' Hold it to the fire ' written upon 
one of its pages. On obeying the direction, he found 
that he had been understood. Lafayette informed him 
that he was frequently allowed to drive for his health, 
and, as he was personally unknown to Bollmann, he 
mentioned a signal by which he might be recognized 
if they should meet. This was all he could say. 
Everything else was left to the courage and ingenuity 
of this adventurous doctor. The volume lent and re- 
turned was the only communication he ever had with 
Lafayette. 

* A short time after this," continued Colonel Huger, 
" I met Dr. Bollmann at Vienna, where he confided 
to me his plans and begged my assistance. I felt it my 
duty to give him all the aid in my power. We hired a 
post-chaise and a servant ; also two horses, one of them 
trained to carry double. We then set off for Olmutz, 
a distance of one hundred and fifty miles. Upon our 
arrival, we sent the servant and the chaise on to Hoff, 



122 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

a post-town twenty-five miles from Olmutz, on the 
road we wished to travel. We mounted our horses 
apparently to follow him, but in fact to endeavor 
to meet Lafayette. Our pistols were not loaded, 
and we took no other arms. We had no intention of 
taking life to forward our design. It was the hour 
when we knew that Lafayette was allowed to ride. 
We rode toward the castle ; and, upon n earing the 
walls, saw an open carriage, in which was seated a 
prisoner in a blue surtout, with an officer beside him 
and an armed soldier mounted behind. As we passed, 
the prisoner gave the signal agreed upon by raising 
his hat and wiping his forehead with his handker- 
chief. The feelings excited by this assurance that 
the prisoner was indeed Lafayette I can never for- 
get. We looked as indifferent as possible, bowed 
slightly, and rode on. Presently we turned and fol- 
lowed the carriage. When it reached the open coun- 
try, Lafayette alighted, on the pretence of taking 
exercise. He gradually drew the officer who had him 
in charge away from the high road. Suddenly he 
grasped the hilt of the officer's sword and drew it. 
At that moment we galloped up to his assistance. A 
scuffle ensued, the officer was slightly wounded, and 
Lafayette's coat was stained with his blood. The 
soldier meantime hurried back to the castle, to give 
the alarm. An uDluckv incident here occurred. We 
had dismounted, and one of our horses, frightened by 
the sun gleaming upon the drawn swords, ran away. 
The officer now seized Lafayette by the collar and 
succeeded in throwing him. The latter exclaimed, 



HOW COLONEL HUGER TOLD THE STORY. 123 

' He is strangling me ! ' We then attacked the officer, 
threw him, and held him down, calling to Lafayette 
to mount the only remaining horse and escape. I 
said to him, ' Go to Hoff ! ' a direction which Lafay- 
ette most unfortunately mistook for the English 
phrase ' Go off ! ' If I had only spoken in French, 
and said Allez a Hoff, our plan would have succeeded. 
Lafayette mounted and rode slowly away ; but im- 
mediately returned and declared that he could not 
leave us in such a situation. We reminded him that 
not a moment was to be lost, and besought him not 
to frustrate our design. With great reluctance, he 
then galloped slowly away. We then let the officer 
escape, and, after much difficulty, I succeeded in 
catching our other horse. We mounted and at- 
tempted to follow Lafayette. But, unfortunately, 
the horse that he had taken was the one we had 
trained to carry double. The horse we were com- 
pelled to mount soon reared, stumbled, and threw us. 
It was impossible for us both to escape. I then in- 
sisted that Bollmann should take the horse and follow 
Lafayette alone. He declared that he could not leave 
me ; but, upon my reminding him that he could be 
of great assistance to Lafayette, through his knowl- 
edge of the German language, of which I was igno- 
rant, he reluctantly decided to go. 

" My situation was a forlorn one. In a few moments 
the whole country would be in pursuit of us. But I 
resolved to lose no chance that remained. I hurried 
toward a convent, that appeared upon a neighboring 
hill. Soon I heard voices behind me, and took refuge 



124 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

in a wood. I hid myself behind a tree, determined 
to strike the first horseman to the ground and to 
mount his horse. But my pursuers were too numer- 
ous. I was instantly surrounded, seized, and carried 
to Olmutz." 

The characteristic delicacy of Colonel Huger led 
him to pass slightly over his sufferings while in 
prison. For ten days he was treated with the ut- 
most rigor. He was chained to the floor of a small 
arched dungeon six feet by eight, from which light 
was totally excluded. His request to be allowed to 
send the words "I am alive " to his mother was 
rudely refused. 

Colonel Huger continued his narrative thus : — 
" After the rigor of my imprisonment was abated 
by a removal from the dark dungeon, I discovered 
that Bollmann was in the apartment above me. We 
soon contrived to hold some communication, and 
from him I first learned the total defeat of our plan. 
He had reached Hoff ; but, not finding Lafayette, he 
lingered on the frontier till he was arrested and sent 
to Olmutz. I have already explained the misunder- 
standing of my direction ' Go to Hoff ! ' which frus- 
trated our design. Lafayette, thinking that he was 
only told to go off, wandered into the village of Za- 
gorsdorf, where he was stopped as a suspicious-looking 
person, his clothes being stained with blood. We 
were all three brought back to Olmutz, and confined 
there separately, ignorant of one another's condition. 
When our trial came on, a young man who served as 
our interpreter became deeply interested in our fate, 



HOW COLONEL HUGER TOLD THE STORY. 125 

and told our story to Count Metro wsky, an influen- 
tial person residing in the neighborhood. Touched 
by the conduct and sufferings of two men he had 
never seen, this nobleman gave our young interpreter 
the command of his purse, and the judges of the tri- 
bunal were bribed to such effect that, after an im- 
prisonment of eight months, we were released. We 
had just cleared the Austrian dominions, when an 
order commanding a new trial reached Olmutz from 
Vienna. Had we been there to meet it, there can be 
no doubt that the result would have been a sentence 
of death. 

"When I met Lafayette, the other day, in New 
York, I had not seen him for thirty years. Deter- 
mined that our meeting should have no witnesses, I 
went to the house that had been assigned to him, 
early in the morning, and was admitted before he left 
his chamber. He remained in prison three years 
after the event I have related. He was told that we 
had been taken and sentenced to execution, but was 
not informed of our liberation. For months he daily 
expected to see us taken out to be shot." 

" While Colonel Huger was speaking," writes the 
lady to whom the reader of this narrative is indebted 
for its preservation, "the countenances of his little 
audience round the table expressed alternate hope 
and fear, joy and anxiety. The interest of the most 
highly wrought novel was not surpassed 'oj that of 
the story, as it fell from the lips of one of the chief 
actors, himself the best personification of a real hero 
we had ever seen." 



126 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Before returning to the city, Colonel Huger amused 
the ladies of the family by the account of a play then 
very popular at the theatres of New York. It was 
called the a Castle of Olmutz," and he figured in it as a 
conspicuous character. " But are you not the hero ? " 
asked one of his admirers. "Oh no, indeed," was 
the reply. " Heroes are always married at the end of 
the play, and I am not so fortunate. I am repre- 
sented, however, as desperately in love with the 
daughter of the governor of the castle, and I am 
left in the same unhappy situation at the end of the 
play. I have always had a particular aversion to 
romantic love-stories, and little thought I should 
ever see myself figuring in one of them." 1 

1 Since this paper appeared, an account of the attempted rescue 
of Lafayette, written by the late Miss Elizabeth Huger, has been 
published at Charleston. This pamphlet gives the facts with greater 
fulness and with more detail than can any less authoritative state- 
ment of them; but there seems to be nothing to correct in the 
above report of Colonel Huger's words. 



LAFAYETTE ON BUNKER HILL. 



ON the 30th of June, fifty-five years ago, Adju- 
tant-General Sumner sent me a notice that 
Governor Lincoln, of Massachusetts, had appointed me 
one of his aids. This was an honor unexpected and 
undesired. It was unexpected, because Governor Lin- 
coln was a Democrat, while my family were prominent, 
and some would have said fanatical, Federalists. It 
was undesired, because I was loath to leave my posi- 
tion in the Boston Light Infantry ; which, under the 
name of the Tigers, was the crack company of the 
city. My friends, however, insisted upon my accept- 
ance of the appointment ; their argument being that 
Lincoln had taken this method of showing that his 
administration was not to be partisan, and that this 
was a compliment to his opponents of the Federal 
party which it would be highly discourteous to decline. 
I accordingly accepted the honor with promptness, 
and was at once commissioned. My fellow-aids, 
whose appointments bore the same date, took time 
for consideration. And thus it happened that I, by 
far the youngest of the group, became senior aid, and 
consequently master of ceremonies during the second 
visit of Lafayette to Boston. 



:28 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Let me here say a word of the pleasant relations 
which for nine years I sustained with Governor Lin- 
coln. In our many journeys about the State, — which 
were then journeys; not, as in these days, merely 
arrivals — he impressed me as a noble man, a kind 
friend, and a good officer. I mention him in this lat- 
ter capacity because he was our last governor who 
appeared in full uniform and reviewed the troops on 
horseback. His aids were, of course, mounted also ; 
and we took care to have good horses that should not 
be shamed by General Sumner's fine animal, " Pea- 
cock." And, as the saying is, horses and riders alike 
" felt their oats." We galloped past the country mili- 
tia, as they appeared before us in review, feeling 
probably as important as the staffs of royalty whose 
military manoeuvres are now depicted in the illus- 
trated papers. 

The second visit of Lafayette to Boston took place 
during the session of the General Court ; and this, of 
course, necessitated a reception by that body. "I 
have been informed that the Legislature intend to 
receive the tribute of my personal respect," wrote 
Lafayette to my father ; thus modestly parrying the 
compliment that was tendered him. " In which case 
it will seem proper for me to be arrived two days 
before the Bunker Hill ceremony. As to what I am 
to do, I cannot do better than to refer myself to your 
friendly advice ; and shall hastily offer you and fam- 
ily my most affectionate, grateful respects." And so, 
according to his programme, the General arrived in 
time to appear at the State House on the 16th, 



LAFAYETTE ON BUNKER HILL. 129 

and to make us a graceful and dignified speech, which 
his pretty French accent made very touching. He 
told us that Bunker Hill had been the pole-star upon 
which his eyes had been fixed, and he rejoiced in the 
prospect of assisting at "the grand half-secular 
jubilee" which was to take place the next day. I 
can see him as he then stood before us, looking all 
the better for his extended travels. A fine, portly 
figure, nearly six feet high, wearing lightly the three- 
score and ten years he had nearly completed, showing 
no infirmity save the slight lameness incurred in our 
defence at the battle of Brandy wine, — such was the 
outward person of the General. His face, on nearer 
view, showed traces of the sufferings through which 
he had passed ; but his brown wig, which set low 
upon his forehead, concealed some of the wrinkles 
which time writes upon the brow, and made it diffi- 
cult to realize that he was the comrade of the bald 
and white-headed veterans who came to greet him. 
The wig, however, did him yeoman's service. With- 
out it he could never have ridden with his hat off 
through the continuous receptions and triumphal en- 
tries which were accorded him. 

We have lately had a surfeit of centennial anni- 
versaries; we have come to take them indifferently 
and as a matter of course. They seem little more 
than conventional compliments to a past with which 
no living link connects us. How can I give an idea 
of the freshness and feeling with which we celebrated 
the fiftieth return of the day when the great battle 
of our Eevolution had been fought ? Every circum- 

9 



130 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

stance seemed to conspire to add dignity and pathos 
to the occasion. The day was simply perfect ; as 
perfect as if made expressly for the imposing scenes 
it was to witness. Never before had so many peo- 
ple been packed into the city. " Everything that has 
wheels and everything which has legs," in the language 
of a stage-driver of the period, (t used them to get to 
Boston." My orders were to be at the Subscription 
House at nine in the morning. This was the new 
name for the mansion at the head of Park Street, 
which had recently been opened as a club house, — 
the first, I believe, known in New England. The 
duty assigned me was to meet the survivors of the 
Battle of Bunker Hill, and to introduce them to the 
General, — a privilege this never to be forgotten ! 
I passed along the line of old men, taking the name 
of each of them from his lips, and repeating it to 
Lafayette. He immediately pronounced the name 
after me in tones of the deepest interest, as if that of 
a dear personal friend, and then, advancing, grasped 
the hand of each veteran with tender cordiality. 
There was no crowd of idle witnesses to gaze upon 
the scene. I stood the one young man among these 
honored heroes. If there were dry eyes in the room, 
mine were not among them. It was a scene for an 
historical picture, by an artist who could feel its 
interest. Thank Heaven, it escaped the conscious 
posings and other vulgarities of the modern photo- 
graph ! No field or staff officer of the battle survived; 
but there was a captain, by the name of Clark, bend- 
ing beneath his ninety-five years, who brought colo- 



LAFAYETTE ON BUNKER HILL. 131 

nial times under King George into contact with the 
great republic which had succeeded them. It was 
my duty to attach to the breast of each of these sur- 
vivors a badge of honor, which was worn during the 
day. 

The brilliant civil and military procession which 
escorted Lafayette and his veterans to Bunker Hill 
moved through crowds of spectators, who were over- 
flowing with enthusiasm. It seemed as if no spot 
where a human foot could plant itself was left un- 
occupied. Even the churches along the route had 
been opened, and their windows were thronged with 
ladies. The contrasted feelings with which Boston 
had looked toward the heights of Charlestown fifty 
years ago was the theme of every tongue. Then, as 
Byron puts it, there were hurryings to and fro, and 
gathering tears and tremblings of distress ; now there 
was a great nation, which had solved the problem of 
self-government and commanded the respect of the 
world. I had intended to give the scene upon Bun- 
ker Hill from my own notes and recollections ; but I 
find in the journal of my sister so excellent a record 
of the occasion that I shall presently avail myself of 
her kind permission to copy it for my readers. 

After laying the corner-stone, Lafayette positively 
refused to take the seat which had been prepared for 
him under the pavilion devoted to official personages 
and distinguished guests. " No," said he ; " I belong 
there, among the survivors of the Bevolution, and 
there I must sit." And so he took a seat among the 
veterans, with no shelter from the rays of a June sun. 



132 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

I have already implied that the address by Everett 
at Cambridge was a greater display of oratory than 
that of Webster at Bunker Hill ; but above the power 
of any words there was in the latter case the mag- 
nificent presence of the man. As America, in the 
patriotic fervors which had not then been chastened, 
seemed to tower superior to all other nations, so tow- 
ered Webster above all other men. What a figure- 
head was there for the Ship of State ! No man, as 
Sydney Smith said, could be so great as this man 
looked, and now he looked his very greatest. To de- 
scribe him, as he stood before us, I must enlist the 
poets as reporters : " The front of Jove himself ; an 
eye like Mars, to threaten and command/' And 
below these there were the " Atlantean shoulders, fit 
to bear the weight of mightiest monarchies ; " and, if 
so, then also the weight of that mightiest of republics, 
which was to throw them into the shade. But there 
was one present who awakened a higher sentiment 
than Daniel Webster. The occasion was to be con- 
secrated by prayer, and the venerable Joseph Thaxter, 
the chaplain of Prescott's own regiment, rose to offi- 
ciate. Half a century before, this man had stood 
upon that very spot, and in the presence of brave 
men, for whom that morning sun was to know no 
setting, called on Him who can save by many or 
by few for aid in the approaching struggle. What 
thoughts rilled the minds of the patriots who had lis- 
tened to Mr. Thaxter's prayer in this place ! What 
wonderful changes surrounded their descendants ! 
And here was again lifted the feeble voice of the old 



LAFAYETTE ON BUNKEE HILL. 133 

man to invoke the Unchangeable, to ask the blessing 
of Him who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for- 
ever. I note this prayer as on the whole the most 
impressive circumstance of this memorable day, and 
now give the narrative from the young lady's diary. 

"Friday, June 17, 1825. — This eventful day was 
welcomed by the roaring of cannon, which woke us 
at early dawn. The whole city was soon in motion. 
Carriages were driving at a tremendous rate; the 
troops were assembling on the Common ; and the 
streets were thronged by multitudes, hurrying to and 
fro. Great apprehensions were yesterday entertained 
with regard to the weather ; but every one said, ' It 
must be a fair day on the 17th,' and I heard that 
an old man in Andover exclaimed, 'The Lord will 
not permit it to rain on that day.' The heavens 
were never more propitious. The showers of yes- 
terday laid the dust and cooled the atmosphere, and 
it was indeed the perfection of weather. 

"Before going to Charlestown, we arranged the 
house for the reception of visitors. The head of 
Hamilton Place was one of the best places in the 
city from which to view the procession, and we knew 
that every window would be in requisition. Two of 
my sisters remained home to see the parade and re- 
ceive company, and some of our acquaintances arrived 
as early as eight o'clock. At half past eight we took 
our departure, escorted by my father, who walked be- 
side our carriage to the old Hancock House, where we 
were to call for Mrs. Lincoln. The Governor's car- 
riage was in waiting, and, while my father went up 



134 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

to attend Mrs. Lincoln, the Governor came down to 
the carriage, to pay his respects to my mother and 
exchange congratulations on the beauty of the day. 
Mrs. Lincoln, Miss Putnam, and my father then got 
into the Governor's carriage and led the way to 
Charlestown. On arriving there, we drove to the 
house of Mr. Knowles (one of the marshals), where 
it had been arranged that the ladies should assemble. 
AH the rooms of the house were crowded with com- 
pany, and we were received with great kindness and 
civility by its mistress. The ladies vied with each 
other in the elegance of their dresses, and their variety 
afforded us ample entertainment during the hour we 
passed there, before we were permitted to secure our 
places to hear the oration. We found foreigners and 
strangers from all parts of the Union ; among them, 
of course, many of our acquaintances, — Mrs. Web- 
ster, Miss Sedgwick, Mr. Daniel Wadsworth, and 
others. The latter is a gentleman of taste and culti- 
vation. He spoke with great enthusiasm of the visit 
of Lafayette to this country. ' I was in the carriage 
with the General/ said he, ' when he entered Hartford. 
Lafayette was describing to me the sufferings he un- 
derwent at Olmutz, when we came to a place where 
the crowd had collected to welcome him. His de- 
scription was rendered inaudible by the cheers which 
rent the air. Lafayette bowed to the people, and 
then, turning to me, said, with emphasis, " These are, 
indeed, the extremes of human life ! ' To which I 
replied, " Yes, sir ; hut they a,re extremes which no mor- 
tal hut you has heen permitted to hehold" ' 



LAFAYETTE ON BUNKER HILL. 135 

" We remained at Mr. Knowles's until near eleven, 
and then walked to Bunker Hill ; my father escorting 
Mrs. Lincoln and my mother, and Professor Silliman 
Miss Putnam and myself. The stage for the orator 
was erected at the foot of the hill, and seats for the 
ladies extended in a semicircle on each side, forming 
a kind of amphitheatre. Above us, on the side of 
the hill, were seats for the soldiers of the Eevolution 
and the multitudes who were to come in the proces- 
sion. We found ourselves surrounded by an immense 
number of women, fashionable and unfashionable, 
high and low, rich and poor, all animated by one in- 
terest. The breezes came over the hill perfumed by 
the new-mown hay, — such as was used to form in- 
trenchments on the day of the battle. At length the 
report of the cannon announced the approach of the 
procession, and soon the infantry appeared on the brow 
of the hill. The ceremony of laying the corner- 
stone we could not see, as it took place on the other 
side of the hill ; but the dirge to the memory of the 
dead, borne by the wind in our direction, was very 
touching. After an hour had passed, those in the 
procession came forward and took their appointed 
seats. Just beside us were the survivors of the bat- 
tle, — a company of venerable old men, covered with 
badges and attended with the greatest respect by the 
young soldiers of the present day, whose brilliant uni- 
forms and youthful appearance formed a most strik- 
ing contrast with the veterans they were supporting. 
Opposite were the soldiers of the Eevolution, with 
Lafayette in the midst of them. The orator of the 



136 FIGUKES OF THE PAST. 

day ascended the stage, accompanied by the Governor 
and his suite and many strangers of distinction. The 
Masons, with their white aprons and blue scarfs and 
banners glancing in the sun, were upon the side of 
the hill, behind the soldiers of the Eevolution. Next 
to them came the military escort and then the count- 
less multitude. Perfect silence pervaded this vast 
assembly when Mr. Thaxter, the chaplain of Prescott's 
regiment, rose to offer prayer. His voice was tremu- 
lous with age, as he raised it here again to offer the 
thanksgivings of another generation. The effect of 
Mr. Pierpont's beautiful hymn, sung by this vast as- 
sembly, to the tune of 'Old Hundred/ and accompa- 
nied by a full band, is beyond my power of descrip- 
tion. In the fourth verse the music died away to 
the softest strains, and toward the conclusion swelled 
again to notes of solemn grandeur. 

" Mr. Webster then came forward, looking like one 
worthy to be the orator of such an occasion. Scarcely 
had he pronounced a few sentences, when he was 
interrupted by the shouts of the throng beyond the 
barriers. Their cries sounded wildly in the distance, 
and for some moments great apprehensions were felt 
that their anxiety to hear Mr. Webster would induce 
them to break through all restraint and rush forward 
upon the place where the ladies were seated. The 
countenances of the gentlemen upon the stage ex- 
pressed deep anxiety, and some of the ladies almost 
fainted from alarm. We exerted all our influence to 
induce those about us to remain quiet. It was an 
appalling moment. Some of the crowd had begun to 



LAFAYETTE ON BUNKER HILL. 137 

climb upon our seats and pull away the awning that 
protected us. If the multitude beyond had followed 
them, it would have produced a conflict with the 
military and a painful scene. The guards, consta- 
bles, and marshals in vain endeavored to keep order. 
Mr. Webster seemed much agitated, and said, with 
an air of deep regret, ' We frustrate our own work.' 
Then, by a sudden impulse, he came forward, and with 
one of his commanding looks called to the marshals 
in a voice of thunder, 'Be silent yourselves, and the 
people WILL obey!' The commotion ceased almost 
instantly, and Mr. W T ebster again commenced his 
oration." 

There is no need to speak of a performance which is 
conspicuous among the published works of the orator. 
At the conclusion of the exercises we repaired to a 
pavilion on the summit of the hill, where more than 
four thousand guests sat down to dinner. The feed- 
ing of this army was as successful as such attempts 
usually are. The official personages, among whom I 
was placed, were well looked after, and it would be 
most ungenerous to cast any reflections upon the con- 
tractor, particularly now when no good can come of 
them. Patriotic toasts abounded. The sentiment 
given by Lafayette is interesting, as embodying the 
general confidence of the time, and its lack of appre- 
ciation of the slow movements of history : — 

" Bunker Hill, and the holy resistance to oppression 
which has already enfranchised the American hemi- 
sphere. The next half-century jubilee's toast shall 
be : To Unfranchised Europe ! " 



DANIEL WEBSTEK AT HOME. 



HHHEKE was never a more brilliant and interesting 
-*- private party given in Boston than the recep- 
tion by Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Webster, on the evening 
of the memorable 17th of June, 1825. Colonel Israel 
Thorndike, the neighbor of Mr. Webster, had caused 
a passage to be cut through the brick walls which 
separated their houses. This doubled the accommo- 
dation for guests, by connecting another handsome 
establishment with that of the host of the evening. 
Summer Street was as light as day, the houses were 
brilliantly illuminated, and a fine band was stationed 
a few yards from Mr. Webster's door. The rooms 
were filled with strangers from all parts of the coun- 
try. I can notice only those few persons with whom 
I happened to converse or had special reason to 
mark. 

First, there were Mr. and Mrs. Webster, who re- 
ceived the compliments of the hour with great dig- 
nity and simplicity. Of the lady, the journal before 
me declares that " she seemed highly to enjoy the 
success and distinction of her husband, but showed 
not the slightest symptom of vanity or elation." In- 
deed, among the most interesting spectacles of the 



DANIEL WEBSTER AT HOME. 139 

evening was the unassuming serenity of the hosts in 
the midst of all the honor and congratulations which 
surrounded them. In alluding to the scene of the 
morning, Mr. Webster said : " I never desire to behold 
again the awful spectacle of so many human faces all 
turned toward me. As I looked at them, a strange 
idea came into my mind. I thought of what Effie 
Deans said, in contemplating her execution, that 
there would be ' seas of faces ' looking up at her. 
There was, indeed, a sea of faces before me at that 
moment." 

Colonel Thorndike occupied the somewhat peculiar 
position of guest in his own house. He was a fine- 
looking person, reputed to be the richest man in New 
England, and in this capacity was the object of much 
interest and attention. He was a great ship-owner, 
and everything he touched seemed to succeed. In 
Beverly, his native town, there had grown up a sort 
of proverb about him, to the effect that if Thorndike 
were to send out a pebble on a shingle it would come 
back a dollar. Yet, like all successful men, he had 
met reverses ; and I remember once hearing him ex- 
claim, with some bitterness, " If I had taken every 
ship I owned, brought them into Boston harbor, and 
burned them without insurance, I should be worth 
$100,000 more than I am now." This gentleman 
had married Miss Dana, of Marblehead, — a lady 
whom my father considered one of the finest women 
he had ever met. I well remember the words in 
which he congratulated Colonel Thorndike upon his 
engagement : " Let me tell you, sir, that you have 



140 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

made the very best bargain you have touched yet ! " 
Wealth was quite as attractive in those days as it is 
at present, and it was deemed a happy circumstance 
that the intellect of the community in one of these 
adjoining houses should be backed by its purse in 
the other. 

Among the interesting strangers with whom I con- 
versed at Mr. Webster's party was Dr. S. L. Mitchell, 
of New York. He was a man of great learning, 
though of some eccentricity, and deserves the column 
of the " American Cyclopaedia " which is devoted to 
his commemoration. He was then prominently be- 
fore the public on account of an appeal which had 
been made to him to decide whether a whale was a 
fish. So far as I remember the case, some one had 
contracted to deliver a large amount of fish oil, and 
had offered whale oil in fulfilment of his contract. 
This the other parties to the bargain refused to ac- 
cept, on the ground that the whale was no fish, but 
an animal. How the matter was decided, I have no 
recollection ; but Dr. Mitchell had been appealed 
to as the best expert to be found. The Doctor ex- 
pressed his delight with Boston in no measured 
terms. Indeed, he rolled off a quotation from Pope's 
" Homer " in praise of the city, which was so very 
flattering that I shall not set it down. It did well 
enough to introduce a conversation which he made 
very agreeable. 

Literary celebrity was purchased in those Arcadian 
days at a much lower price than is at present set 
upon the article. I do not remember much about 



DANIEL WEBSTER AT HOME. 141 

Mr. Hillhouse's poem, called " Hadad," yet I shall 
venture to doubt whether it would make an author 
conspicuous if published to-day. Nevertheless, Mr. 
Hillhouse, the distinguished American poet, was 
pointed out as among the largest lions of the even- 
ing. I read very good verses every evening, in the 
Boston " Transcript," which would have crowned their 
authors with unfading laurels if they had only brought 
them to market fifty years earlier. Mr. Hillhouse 
was a man of great gentleness and refinement, and 
I afterward enjoyed his society as a visitor in our 
family circle. On the present occasion, however, I 
found more attraction in the person of a lady of his 
party. This was a sister of Mrs. Hillhouse (Miss 
Lawrence), a reigning belle of New York. With 
this lady I had a pleasant chat, and, as a social 
philosopher of three-and-twenty, was interested in 
comparing the taste of the two cities in the matter 
of feminine fascinations. There was another lady 
to whom I was presented, — a tall young person, of 
about thirty, of pleasing countenance, and wearing 
her hair cut short to the head. This was famous 
Fanny Wright, who had just returned to America, 
with all the glory of having written a book about us. 
She was destined to be still better known, at a later 
date, as the promulgator of unpopular theories and 
as the first of practical Abolitionists. The colony of 
emancipated slaves which she established on lands 
purchased in Tennessee was one of those failures 
which are better than many things which the world 
calls successful. 



142 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

I do not speak of Lafayette and the survivors of 
the Ee volution, who were, of course, at Mr. Webster's 
party and were prominent as the real heroes of the 
day. Among these survivors was Colonel Putnam, 
the son of General Putnam, who was conspicuous at 
Bunker Hill. " I was in the American army at the 
time of the famous battle," said this gentleman; 
u but my father would not allow me to accompany 
him to Charlestown. He chose to leave me at Cam- 
bridge to guard a Mrs. Inman, a Tory lady, who had 
placed herself under his protection." The evening 
at Mr. Webster's was a fitting climax to the exciting 
festival, and those who had taken part in its cere- 
monials had good reason to sleep soundly. 

The last evening reception given to Lafayette in 
Boston took place on Sunday, at the house of Mr. 
K. C. Derby. I have noted that on this occasion 
the General was reintroduced to a lady with whom 
he had danced a minuet forty-seven years before. 
Strange to say, I failed to set down the lady's name, 
and I now find it to be gone past recovery. Mr. 
Derby's establishment was very stylish and fashion- 
able ; and the names of the guests, with such titles 
as we were so happy as to possess, were loudly pro- 
claimed by a servant as we ascended the stairs. My 
sister's journal, which I have found so useful, mentions 
that the arrangement of the rooms was different from 
any she had seen before. "The principal drawing- 
room was large and brilliantly lighted, and opening 
from it was a suite of smaller apartments, some lined 
with paintings, others hung with silk, and illuminated 



DANIEL WEBSTER AT HOME. 143 

by shade-lamps and lights in alabaster vases, to pro- 
duce the effect of moonlight. These apartments ter- 
minated in a boudoir only large enough to hold two 
or three people. It was hung with light blue silk 
and furnished with sofas and curtains of the same 
hue. It also contained an immense mirror, placed 
so as to reflect the rest of the rooms.*' This, then, 
was the Boston elegance of 1825. Whether such 
arrangements would be considered effective at the 
present day I am not qualified to say. 

Boston's farewell to Lafayette took place at the 
theatre ; and here again I will be so considerate as 
to throw aside my own journal, and open that of 
another sister, not out of her teens, to the accuracy 
of whose report I can bear witness. If one cannot 
go to the theatre one's self, the next best thing is to 
hear the account that a fresh young person will give 
of a rarely permitted indulgence of this nature. And 
in this way I shall invite my readers to assist at 
Boston's final ovation to the nation's guest. 

"We all went to the theatre early; but as soon 
as we reached our box my brother left us under the 
care of the other gentlemen of our party, — as, being 
aid to the Governor, he was obliged to go to the 
Marlborough Hotel to join his suite. We ladies 
seated ourselves in the front of the box, and began 
to look around at the decorations of the house. The 
pit and lower rows of boxes were already quite full, 
and the remaining space was filling up very fast. 
From the middle of the ceiling over the pit was sus- 
pended an immense gilt eagle, with its wings spread, 



144 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

and from this emblem diverged flags and streamers 
to all parts of the house. Kound the gallery, in illu- 
minated letters, were the names of all the States, and 
beneath the boxes those of all the governors. Over 
the General's box were the letters G. L. F., of immense 
size and appropriately decorated. Two boxes had 
been thrown into one for the reception of Lafayette 
and his suite. They were lined with green baize and 
decorated with flags, evergreens, and artificial flowers. 
The play-bills were printed on white satin. Our 
box was No. 3, next to the General's, and was also 
lined with green baize, out of compliment to the 
Mayor. Lafayette being at a public dinner, the play 
(' Charles the Second ') began before his arrival. In 
the midst of the second scene the Governor and his 
aids entered the General's box. Out of compliment 
to the Governor, the audience arose and clapped long 
and loud. Soon after they had resumed their seats 
a loud shout from the crowd outside announced that 
General Lafayette was at the door. Presently the 
managers (who had received Lafayette at the entrance 
of the theatre), preceded by men in costume, bearing 
lighted tapers in their hands, came through the lobby, 
ushering in their guest. He was followed by the 
Mayor, Mr. Lloyd, and several other gentlemen ; but 
George Washington Lafayette and M. Levasseur did 
not appear, as they were preparing for their depart- 
ure. As soon as Lafayette entered the box, every 
one rose, and three cheers were given, which were 
absolutely deafening. They were accompanied by 
clapping of hands, stamping of feet, and beating of 



DANIEL WEBSTER AT HOME. 145 

canes, while the orchestra burst into 'Lafayette's 
March.' The General reached the front of the box, 
bowed, laid his hand on his heart, and repeated 
several times, ' I am very much obliged to you, gen- 
tlemen,' and this caused renewed clapping and vocif- 
eration. At last the cry ' Down ! down ! ' re-echoed 
through the house ; and when all were reseated the 
play went on. Mrs. Henry, who was more beautiful 
than ever, was upon the stage when the General en- 
tered. The first play was admirably acted. When 
it was over, all stood up, as usual, to refresh. La- 
fayette shook hands with my mother, and expressed 
his pleasure in seeing her so near him. When the 
curtain rose again, a new drop-scene appeared. It 
represented the tomb of Washington, with divers 
emblematical trophies. The effect was very fine. 
Mrs. Powell then appeared, attired as the Goddess 
of Liberty, and recited a piece of poetry, winding up 
with a compliment to Lafayette. She appeared very 
well indeed, and was received with thunders of ap- 
plause. Then that scene was withdrawn, and a view 
of La Grange was shown. This was a great surprise, 
and was received with repeated clapping. Lafayette 
seemed much pleased, and said it was a good like- 
ness of his place. Then Mrs. Williamson, elegantly 
dressed, came forward and sang very well a song in 
honor of Lafayette. Of course, this was received 
with more applause, and the lady retired amid shouts 
of satisfaction. The after-piece, 'Simpson & Co.,' 
now began. Finn and Mrs. Henry again acted ad- 
mirably. I never thought of Finn, but only of 

10 



146 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Bromley ; and Mrs. Henry looked more bewitching 
than I ever saw her. All the actors had new dresses 
for the occasion, and everything went off as well as 
possible. When the curtain dropped, Lafayette rose ; 
and verily I thought the walls would have fallen, 
from the noise that ensued. As it was Lafayette's 
last appearance in Boston, every bow from him was 
received with fresh cheering. At length he turned 
from the audience, shook hands for the last time 
with the ladies of our party, and declared that he 
should expect to see us all in France. Then he left 
the box, followed by the whole house; who, meeting 
him at the door, gave him loud cheers as he drove 
off. We waited some time for the crowd to disperse, 
and then walked home. This evening, I think, must 
bear the palm, from the novelty and excitement of 
the scene." 

I cannot suppose that the words I have quoted 
will give this scene to the reader as vividly as they 
reproduce it to me. The dead and forgotten worthies 
of old Boston, full of life and enthusiasm, are again 
crowding the theatre. Those who claim to have 
taken their places are to me the phantoms. 



LAFAYETTE LEAVES MASSACHUSETTS. 



ABOUT the year 1845, in going from Boston to 
New York, I fell in with a bridal party. The 
gentleman introduced himself, and then presented me 
to his wife, and to her very pretty sister, who was 
travelling in their company. After some chat upon 
indifferent subjects, the bride turned to me, with an 
air of well-assumed seriousness, and said : " I may as 
well tell you, Mr. Quincy, that I have long desired to 
make your acquaintance, and determined to do so 
when I found you were upon this boat. There is 
an event with which you were connected which has 
caused much unhappiness in our family. It is in 
your power to remove this unhappiness by answer- 
ing a single question, ' Did you ever kiss my sister ? ' " 
Amazed at this singular inquiry, I could only say 
that, without betraying the past, I should be glad, 
with the young lady's permission, to qualify myself 
to answer the question in the affirmative from that 
time forward. "That would not improve things," 
said the bride, roguishly ; " for the fact is that this 
pert young thing has always given herself airs be- 
cause, when she was four months old, and you were 
driving through our town with Lafayette, she was 



148 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

lifted up into the carriage and, as she says, kissed by 
the General. Now, the old people who remember 
the time tell us that this notion of hers is a great 
mistake; for they are certain that while Lafayette 
was shaking hands with the men on one side of the 
barouche, he detailed you to kiss the babies on the 
other." I mention this incident as one of those allu- 
sions to the visit of Lafayette which, for thirty years 
afterward, were testifying to the deep impression it 
had made upon our people. In this special case I 
did all that I could for the young lady, by declaring 
that, while candor compelled me to admit that I had 
kissed a goodly number of babies on the 21st of June, 
1825, I had not the slightest recollection of her as 
being among their number. 

On the morning of Lafayette's final departure from 
Boston, I was ordered to report myself at Mr. Lloyd's 
house, in Somerset Street, at seven o'clock. In com- 
pany with my fellow aid, John Brazer Davis, I here 
passed a pleasant hour in breakfasting with the Gen- 
eral, who was full of conversation. My journal re- 
cords that he gave us highly interesting sketches of 
his journey through the States, and spoke with great 
gratification of his reception by Congress, and of its 
generous gift as a recognition of his services in the 
Kevolution. "I have but one thing to regret in all 
my travels," he said, " and that is the loss of my little 
dog, who loved me so much ; " and he gave us a pa- 
thetic account of his feelings when the animal was 
stolen during the passage up the Ohio. The conver- 
sation turned upon Napoleon, and it was evident 



LAFAYETTE LEAVES MASSACHUSETTS. 149 

that, notwithstanding the good reasons to detest the 
man which Lafayette had, he was enough of a French- 
man and a soldier to take pride in the military genius 
which had led his countrymen to such brilliant victo- 
ries. "But the fact is," continued the General, "history 
will find it very difficult to get at the real Napoleon ; 
for the man deported himself with great care when in 
the presence of those whom he had reason to suspect 
were writing diaries or memoirs. Posterity will know 
what poses he deemed becoming in a figure of his 
importance, and but little more." The remark was a 
shrewd one, and for fifty years after it was made at 
Mr. Lloyd's breakfast-table I was disposed to accept 
it as true. We have only just learned that all the 
sagacity of the Emperor could not tell him who the 
memoir writers were to be. There was a modest little 
woman, who waited upon his wife, before whom the 
great man did not think it necessary to keep up his 
posturing ; and the revelations of Madame de Eemu- 
sat have amply avenged any deceptions he may have 
fastened upon others. 

A little after nine it was announced that the car- 
riages were at the door and that the last farewells 
must be spoken. "Sir, you have made us love you 
too much," said my father, who had come to witness 
the departure. " Ah ! but I cannot love you too 
much," replied Lafayette, throwing his arms about 
him and, after the French custom, saluting him upon 
both cheeks. There were three open barouches, each 
drawn by four horses, those attached to the General's 
carriage being perfectly white animals of noble ap- 



150 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

pearance. I rode at the left of Lafayette, and Colonel 
Davis had the front seat to himself. The carriages 
following us contained George Washington Lafayette 
and others of the suite. We were accompanied by 
outriders, and for a part of the way, at least, by a de- 
tachment of cavalry. 

We left the city through throngs of people, which 
almost stopped the streets ; and at every town and 
every cross-road we were received by new throngs 
pressing upon us to salute the guest of the nation. 
We made short stops for the babies to be kissed 
(by proxy or otherwise), and for the men (those 
who could get near the barouche) to take the Gen- 
eral by the hand. Our carriage was soon filled 
with the flowers that were thrown into it, and there 
remained no space available for an additional rose- 
bud. 

Exciting as all this was, I longed for the vacant 
spaces upon our road, for there Lafayette would kindly 
answer the inquiries of his young companions and 
tell them of the scenes through which he had passed. 
He gave us a thrilling account of the mob at Ver- 
sailles, on the memorable occasion when, appearing 
on the balcony with the Queen, he could only address 
them in dumb show, by kneeling and kissing the 
royal hand. He spoke with fervor of the beauty of 
Marie Antoinette, and seemed to think that this 
was no unimportant factor in giving events the turn 
they had taken. Speaking of his visit to America, 
he declared that nothing struck him more than the 
simplicity of life and the absence of accumulated 



LAFAYETTE LEAVES MASSACHUSETTS. 151 

capital. "What do you think/' said he, "is the 
question which these Eevolutionary soldiers, to whom 
I am introduced, almost invariably ask me? It is 
this : ' What do you do for a living ? ' And some- 
times the inquiry comes: 'What was your father's 
business ? ' Now, everybody is working for a living 
in America, — that is, pursuing some money-getting 
trade or profession, — and the people do not under- 
stand how it can be otherwise in the older coun- 
tries." 

Lafayette showed great tact in the little speeches 
he was everywhere compelled to make, and often 
caused astonishment by the local information that 
was interwoven with his remarks. His memory was 
wonderfully clear in regard to the incidents of his 
own career ; but his knowledge of the position of 
affairs in the villages of Massachusetts was not mar- 
vellous to those who travelled in his company. As we 
were approaching Andover, he said, "Now tell me 
all about this place and for what it is remarkable." 
As my boyhood had been passed in the town, as a 
pupil of the academy, the subject was one upon 
which I was thoroughly posted. I gave him several 
local incidents, describing especially the Theological 
Seminary, where the faith once delivered to the 
saints was held in its original purity and from whose 
walls many missionaries had gone forth. The Gen- 
eral treasured the hints, and in his speech made the 
happiest allusion to that sacred hill from which hope 
had gone forth to the heathen and light to the utter- 
most parts of the earth. On my return through the 



152 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

town, I met an old gentleman who, though not con- 
nected with the institution, was deeply interested in 
its honor and success. " I was really surprised," he 
said to me, " at the particular and accurate knowledge 
that General Lafayette possessed in regard to our 
Theological Seminary. I always knew that in the 
religious world it was an object of great concern ; but 
I never supposed that in the courts and camps of 
Europe so much interest was taken in the condition 
and prospects of this institution." I could not find 
it in my heart to dispel a delusion which gave so 
much innocent pleasure, and so went my way with 
the remark that, after the talk I had had with the 
General, I was not surprised at the excellence of his 
information concerning all that was going forward in 
Andover. 

There was a story told about Lafayette, during his 
visit to Boston, which I am tempted to repeat, though 
I do not believe it was true. It was probably one of 
those apocryphal anecdotes which give the popular 
impressions about public characters in a pointed way. 
On being presented to some old soldiers, the Genera] 
was heard to ask the leader of the group if he were 
married. Upon receiving an answer in the affirma- 
tive, Lafayette responded, with most tender empha- 
sis, " Ah ! happy man ! " To the person who was 
next presented the same question was put ; but here 
the reply was, " No, sir ; I am a bachelor." " Oh ! 
you lucky dog ! " whispered the questioner, with a 
roguish twinkle in his eye. These remarks were 
overheard by a bystander, who taxed Lafayette with 



LAFAYETTE LEAVES MASSACHUSETTS. 153 

insincerity in bestowing similar congratulations under 
such widely different circumstances. " Is it possible," 
said the General, turning promptly upon his critic, 
" that you value the prerogative of humanity so little 
as not to know that the felicity of a happy man is a 
thousand times better than that of a lucky dog ! " 
Certain traits of Lafayette — his way of saying pleas- 
ant things to those he met, and his graceful readiness 
of reply — are so happily combined in the story that 
it deserves to be true, and it may have had some 
foundation in fact. 

Methuen was the last town in Massachusetts where 
we stopped to receive the homage of the people ; and 
soon after we reached the State line, where we gave 
up our guest to the authorities of New Hampshire. 
Lafayette embraced his two companions at parting, 
and thanked us over and over again for the attention 
which had been shown him. To me his last words 
were : " Eemember, we must meet again in France ! " 
and, so saying, he kissed me upon both cheeks. " If 
Lafayette had kissed me," said an enthusiastic lady 
of my acquaintance, " depend upon it, I would never 
have washed my face again as long as I lived ! ' The 
remark may be taken as fairly marking the point 
which the flood-tide of affectionate admiration reached 
in those days. 

I cannot hope to convey an adequate idea of the 
extraordinary spectacles represented during the visit 
of our nation's guest. Before us stood the very man 
who had crossed the ocean to a land of strangers — 
aliens in blood and in language — to share our des- 



154 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

perate struggle when we were poor and weak and 
oppressed. It was a striking and magnificent event, 
one not to be repeated in the world's history. The 
shrewd and inexpressive Ndw Englanders were filled 
with the exuberant enthusiasm of the Southern races. 
They rushed with the wild ardor of children to em- 
brace a beloved parent. 

Just thirty years after taking leave of Lafayette, I 
visited the city of Paris and stood beside his tomb. 
He lies by the side of his dearly beloved wife, in the 
little cemetery of Picpus. The entrance is through a 
chapel of the Nuns of the Holy Sacrament, where two 
of the sisters are always prostrate in prayer before 
the altar. They are relieved as regularly as sentinels ; 
and day and night, through all the turbulent scenes 
of modern French history, their service has been 
unceasing. Could there be a greater contrast than 
between lives so spent and his whose dust they 
guard ? The inscription upon the stone which covers 
Lafayette is very simple, and no word reveals the fact 
that he ever visited America. Surely, this is not the 
only memorial of him which should exist in the capi- 
tal of France. Among the magnificent monuments of 
Paris the absence of one ought to be conspicuous to 
every American. Where is the equestrian statue of 
Lafayette which our countrymen should have placed 
in that city ? Twenty-five years ago I asked myself 
this question, and determined to do what I could to 
cause the deficiency to be supplied. And an occasion 
for initiating the movement soon came. On the 22d 
of February, 1856, I was asked to preside at a dinner 



LAFAYETTE LEAVES MASSACHUSETTS. 155 

of Americans in Eome. Men of large wealth and 
social distinction were collected about the table. I 
recall Messrs. Beekman and Hamersley, of New 
York ; Mr. Corning, of Albany ; Dr. Sharpless, of 
Philadelphia ; Mr. George B. Emerson, of Boston ; 
and many others. Crawford, the sculptor, Page, the 
painter, with men of lesser fame, represented Ameri- 
can art. This was just the occasion to introduce the 
proposition I had contemplated. The response was 
enthusiastic. Gentlemen of large pecuniary responsi- 
bility pledged themselves that funds should be forth- 
coming. An equestrian statue of Lafayette, by an 
American artist, should be placed by Americans in 
the city of Paris. An excellent committee was at 
once appointed, and I was directed to open a cor- 
respondence upon the subject with Mr. Mason, our 
minister to France. And here the project was brought 
to a sudden end. Mr. Mason wrote that the govern- 
ment of Napoleon III. refused to allow such a memo- 
rial to be erected in Paris. The despotism of fraud 
and sensuality which a band of conspirators had 
forced upon France had no sympathy with the pure 
and honorable republican. 

It was a singularly graceful act in the present 
government of France to atone for this refusal by 
presenting to the city of New York the statue of 
Lafayette, executed by a French artist, which now 
stands in Central Park. It would be merely a fitting 
acknowledgment of this courtesy for our countrymen 
again to ask the privilege (which would now cordially 
be given) of placing in the city of Paris a statue of 



156 



FIGURES OF THE PAST. 



him who was the benefactor of two nations. No 
public monument can be reared of more significance, 
and I cannot better conclude these reminiscences of 
Lafayette than by commending it to the attention of 
patriotic Americans. 






THE DUKE OF SAXE-WEIMAK AND 
CAPTAIN EYK. 



fXN July 26, 1825, the ship "Pallas" entered 
^-^ Boston harbor. She brought an extra comple- 
ment of thirty officers, a picked crew, and one pas- 
senger, the latter being his Koyal Highness, Charles 
Bernard, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar. It is not the 
easiest thing in the world to live up to such a title as 
that ; but in this case the man who bore it was quite 
equal to the part, and I do not hesitate to say that 
no finer specimens of cultivated European gentlemen 
have ever visited America than this royal Duke and 
his friend, Captain Eyk, the commander of the " Pal- 
las." The two volumes of travels which resulted from 
this visit testify to the accurate observation and wide 
interests of their author; but his previous history, 
added to his distinguished rank, was sufficient to make 
Duke Bernard's arrival in Boston a social event in 
those days of smaller excitements and less rapid life. 
The father of the prince had been the first among 
German sovereigns to grant his subjects a free con- 
stitution, while our visitor was himself a distin- 
guished officer, who had been decorated for heroic 
conduct at the battle of Wagram, and had been noted 
for conspicuous gallantry upon the bloody field of 



158 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Waterloo. The narrative of the part he bore in the 
latter gigantic conflict, then so recent, abounds with 
those romantic adventures which lend a lasting inter- 
est to their hero. He had acted as general of brigade 
in the service of the Prince of Orange, entering the 
battle with four thousand men, of whom scarcely 
more than one fourth survived its terrible slaughter. 
During the first day the Duke held his ground reso- 
lutely against a force three times as large as his own, 
and finally headed a desperate bayonet-charge, to gain 
an important position in the possession of the French. 
Having won his ground, he resolutely maintained it, 
while the supporting wing of the army was driven 
back as far as Quatre Bras, a retreat in which 
" Brunswick's fated chieftain " met his death. The 
next day, after a bivouac in the mud and drenched 
by a pelting rain, Bernard rose to the decisive battle. 
He was ordered to maintain a village of strategic im- 
portance, and through the long day he held his post 
by constant fighting and with heavy losses of men. 
At four o'clock in the afternoon the result was still 
doubtful, when the Prussians under General Bulow 
arrived to decide the battle. Some of these new- 
comers were sent to the support of Bernard and his 
exhausted command ; but now a cruel blunder added 
to the horrors of the day, for the Prussians sent to 
the aid of the Duke mistook his Nassau troops for 
Frenchmen, and advanced upon them with a terrible 
fire. The men, spent and exhausted by their pro- 
tracted fighting, were for a time demoralized by this 
unexpected assault. They abandoned their post and 



DUKE OF SAXE- WEIMAR AND CAPTAIN RYK. 159 

fled more than a mile before their brave leader was 
able to rally them. Three years after Waterloo the 
Duke of Saxe-Weimar entered the service of the 
King of the Netherlands, and was appointed military 
governor of Eastern Flanders ; and this post he still 
occupied when he visited America. 

I was constantly with the Duke during his stay in 
Boston, meeting him at parties, taking him about the 
city in the week and to the King's Chapel on Sun- 
day. I have noted the excellent sermon we had from 
Henry Ware, from Proverbs xi. 3, and my gratifica- 
tion that my companion should hear so favorable a 
specimen of a Boston preacher. I make the follow- 
ing extract from my journal for August 3d : — 

" Drove George Adams to Quincy about noon this 
day. At first we went to his grandfather's, where I 
was introduced to a very pretty Miss Willis, and 
afterward enjoyed half an hour's conversation with 
the old President. My father arrived later, bringing 
the Duke of Saxe-Weimar and his party. Old Mr. 
Adams was in excellent spirits. When Von Tromp, 
a descendant of the great Admiral, was introduced 
to him, he exclaimed, with the greatest enthusiasm, 
1 Huzza for Von Tromp ! God bless Von Tromp ! ' 
In fact, I hardly ever saw the old gentleman in finer 
humor. The Duke, Captain Byk, and several gentle- 
men dined with us. Ryk, though a thorough sailor, 
is a very well-informed man. He speaks all the 
languages of Europe, and seems conversant with the 
literature of each. He quoted passages from Milton 
and Dante, but without pedantry." 



160 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

And this brief notice is all I have given of the day ; 
but I have fortunately the privilege of consigning the 
reader to the guidance of a journal- writer far more 
accomplished than myself. My sister has kindly 
permitted me to copy (with some omissions) her ex- 
cellent account of the old-fashioned country dinner- 
party that was gathered in honor of our European 
visitors. Here are the Duke and his friends as seen 
through the eyes of a young lady who little dreamed 
that this record would ever stray beyond the covers 
of her private diary. 

"Wednesday, August 3, 1825. — My father told us 
that he should bring the Duke of Saxe- Weimar to 
dine here to-day, and, after a visit to Mr. Adams, 
the party drove up to the door. There is no 'And 
will your Highness to some little peer ' in this case ; 
for the Duke is considerably above six feet in height, 
with a finely developed figure. His face is pleasing 
and intelligent, his dress was perfectly plain, and he 
wore no orders, but carried superb and massy seals 
to his watch. Just behind the Duke there entered a 
figure in full uniform, who was introduced to us as 
Captain Eyk, of the ship ' Pallas.' He looked like a 
true Dutchman, both in face and figure. In addition 
to sword and epaulets, he wore two crosses hanging 
from two gold coronets, with which they were con- 
nected by blue and red ribbons. One was the Cross 
of the Legion of Honor, which he afterward told me 
was won fighting against the English. Captain Eyk 
is apparently forty, with a countenance all good- 
humor and animation. A third foreigner was Von 



DUKE OF SAXE-WEIMAR AND CAPTAIN RYK. 161 

Tromp, a descendant of the famous Admiral. He is 
a pleasing young man of twenty-one, and has come 
out with Captain Ryk to study naval tactics. ' You 
must like Mrs. Quincy,' said my father to the Duke, 
' for she is half a German.' ' What part of Germany 
does her family come from ? ' inquired our visitor. 
' Kaub, on the Rhine/ was the reply. • Ah ! I know 
Kaub very well. There is a small island there, called 
the Pfalz. Have you not a view of it ? There are 
some excellent prints.' I produced a drawing from 
an engraving, which the Duke pronounced very cor- 
rect, and proceeded to name all the adjacent places. 
* Here is the spot where the French once built a pon- 
toon bridge across the Rhine. They built it in an 
incredibly short time.' The Duke then examined 
our Chinese drawings of Canton, and, passing to the 
hall, he traced upon a map of Canada the route he 
intended to take. Some one said that he would not 
find comfortable accommodations in American taverns. 
1 Oh ! I am a soldier,' was the reply. ' If there is no 
bed, I can sleep on the floor ; if no floor, then on the 
ground.' 

" Meanwhile the rest of the company assembled, — 
Dr. Kirkland, Dr. Cooper, Mr. Everett, Mr. Salton- 
stall, and George Adams. Every one was brought 
up and presented to our guest, who, notwithstanding, 
insisted upon looking through a portfolio of drawings 
he had taken up, and commenting with great quick- 
ness of observation upon the views it contained. 
When, at length, he went into the other room, he 

called Captain Ryk to take his place, saying, ' There 

ll 



162 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

are drawings of that young lady's you must look at.' 
The Captain obeyed orders, and amused me very much 
by his remarks. He was as acute as the Duke, and 
then so infinitely odd. Taking up a view of Ching- 
ford Church, in pencil, he said : ' I like pencil ; this 
is very pretty ; but then you cannot make such fine 
works as with India ink. I like that, too, that way, 
with gamboge washed over it,' pointing to a view of 
Niagara from Black Eock. ' But — Whew ! whew ! 
What have we here ? ' taking up the likenesses of 
two Osage Indians, which I explained to him. ' Fine- 
looking fellow ! Good head ! Possible that is his 
hair, stuck up so ? But I do not know that it is any 
more queer than for us to wear these things of gold 
lace on our shoulders. Do you know how to cut 
heads out of paper so as to throw a shadow to repre- 
sent a drawing ? ' I said I had seen such cuttings, 
but could not cut them myself. He then informed 
me that this was one of the principal amusements of 
the ladies of Germany, and, taking up a piece of white 
paper and asking for scissors, he forthwith began to 
cut. In a few instants he fashioned, with the greatest 
facility, a head, which, being made to throw a shadow, 
represented Christ, after some old painting. It was, 
indeed, wonderful to see the adroitness with which a 
rough sailor performed this work. Upon my admir- 
ing it, he said, holding up his hand, ' To be sure, my 
hand is more used to handle the marline-spike than 
the scissors.' He was then about to tear the head in 
two ; but I snatched it from destruction and told him 
he must give it to me. My father, who joined us, 



DUKE OF SAXE- WEIMAR AND CAPTAIN RYK. 163 

then said, 'We shall keep that head, Captain Ryk, 
till you are an admiral, and then we shall show it as 
a great treasure/ 

" At the dinner-table I was seated between the 
Duke and Dr. Kirkland. Opposite were Dr. Cooper, 
Captain Kyk, and Mr. Everett. The rest of the com- 
pany were below. His Highness having inquired the 
names of my sisters, I (to be equal in inquisitive ness) 
asked the name of his daughter. ' Louisa ; and my 
two sons are William and Edward. My daughter is 
eight years old ; my eldest son, six ; my Englishman, 
as I call him, is two; and I presume I have another 
German son now, who must be about a fortnight or 
three weeks of age.' He then talked to me of his 
voyage. He had stopped on the coast of England, 
and visited Plymouth, Portsmouth, and Falmouth. 
On the British coast he was in danger from a great 
gale. Speaking of his travels two years ago, in Eng- 
land, Scotland, and Ireland, he mentioned that he had 
found the former a very dear country. ' The expense 
of travelling in England/ he said, ' is really enormous. 
You have to pay for everything ; but I saw all their 
manufactories, except that of Mr. Watt, at Bolton. 
There they would not let me in. At the great houses 
you must always pay the servants. Many noblemen, 
among them the Duke of Marlborough, actually sup- 
port their establishmeuts in this way/ The remark 
was overheard by one of the other gentlemen, who 
said : ' Then the Duke equals his predecessor. I once 
heard that somebody was one day mistaken in the 
streets of London for the old Duke of Marlborough. 



164 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Wishing to be relieved from the impertinent curiosity 
of a crowd who were following him, he suddenly- 
turned and threw a handful of silver among the peo- 
ple, exclaiming, " Now I hope you are satisfied that 
I am not the Duke ! " ' 

" The Duke of Saxe- Weimar seemed to have a full 
understanding of the value of money, and said many 
things which showed that his possessions were by no 
means equal to his rank. He asked some questions 
about Stuart's paintings, and added, ' Is he very 
dear ? ' Indeed, the Duke was so simple and unpre- 
tending that I should have forgotten his title had I 
not been continually reminded of it by calls from the 
other end of the table : ' Will your Highness take 
this ? ' ' Shall I have the honor of a glass of wine 
with your Highness ? ' etc. I was particularly struck 
with the manner in which Mr. Everett pronounced 
the words. ' Have you visited Italy, Mr. Everett ? ' 
* Yes, your Highness! It was said with a reverence 
of voice and manner which appeared to me, to say 
the least, superfluous. I suppose Mr. Everett wished 
to show that he was accustomed to the manners of 
Europe. Of Captain Eyk the Duke said : • He is a 
very clever man. He began as a cabin-boy, and has 
raised himself by his talents and bravery. He has 
been in many actions. His present situation shows 
the esteem in which he is held, for his ship is filled 
with young officers, whom he instructs in naval tac- 
tics.' In the course of the dinner, Captain Ryk 
described his sail through the Straits of Scylla and 
Charybdis. He commanded a seventy-four, and passed 



DUKE OF SAXE -WEIMAR AND CAPTAIN RYK. 165 

in perfect safety ; ' not even/ he said, ' putting wool 
in my ears, like Ulysses, for fear of the sirens.' He 
spoke of the Eoman Catholic relics, and described 
some he saw in the Cathedral at Milan. Among them 
there was a large stone chained to the walL Upon 
asking for what it was remarkable, the monk who 
acted as showman replied : ' Why, that is a miracu- 
lous stone. It fell from the top of the dome without 
hurting a single person.' 'I suppose that was because 
nobody was in the church,' replied the Captain, ' and 
I suppose you have chained it there lest a second 
miracle should be performed and it should fly up 
again.' ' I see you are a heretic ! ' exclaimed the 
monk. 

" The Duke had been asking a great many questions 
about the Indians, and suddenly inquired whether I 
had ever seen any of the skulls of their enemies which 
the aborigines preserve. I was somewhat shocked at 
this question, and turned the subject of the conversa- 
tion ; but the skulls seemed to have taken hold of the 
Duke's imagination and were not to be dislodged. He 
wished to investigate the matter thoroughly, perhaps 
from the fear that the Indians might perform some 
of their ceremonies upon himself ; so, calling across 
the table to Captain Eyk, he demanded in German 
what was the English for schddel. ' Why, skull, skull,' 
said the Captain. Thus reassured, the Duke returned 
to the inquiry. ' Miss Quincy, have you ever seen 
any of the skulls of their enemies which the Indians 
drink out of ? ' I replied that I never had, and 
hoped they had given up such a horrid practice. ' I 



166 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

agree with you/ said Captain Eyk. 'For my own 
part, I very much prefer a good clean glass, like this. 
A skull is not a very pretty thing. How should you 
like to see a row of them round this table ? It would 
be quite in the style of Ossian's heroes, to be sure. 
You know they always used skulls for drinking-cups ; 
but they would not be very pretty nowadays.' Here 
the conversation was interrupted by my father, who 
called the attention of the company to a toast, — The 
King of the Netherlands. This being drunk with 
due respect, he was atfout to propose the Grand Duke 
of Saxe- Weimar, the father of our guest, when the 
son interrupted him, saying, ' With your leave, I 
will give the next toast — The President of the United 
States and his venerable Father! After this we drank 
the health of his Eoyal Highness the Grand Duke 
of Saxe- Weimar, and our visitor bowed low to the 
company in return for the compliment to his father. 
Some Constantia wine was then offered. This had 
been brought from the Cape by Major Shaw, in the 
year 1792. Mr. S. G. Perkins told my father that 
this wine was now very valuable, worth in England 
several guineas a bottle, and that he must never pro- 
duce it except for some very distinguished guest, such 
as the President of the United States. Mr. Everett 
now leaned forward and said, 'I beg leave to pro- 
pose a toast, — The Health of the Duchess Ida! This 
was accordingly drunk in Constantia, and it was a 
good notion of Mr. Everett to give the lady in the 
first glass of sweet wine. Unfortunately, however, 
the Duke made a mistake as to the author of the 



DUKE OF SAXE- WEIMAR AND CAPTAIN RYK. 167 

compliment; for, leaning forward, he bowed to Mr. 
Shepherd, who sat on our side of the table, opposite 
to Mr. Everett, and said, ' I hope the Duchess will 
thank you, when you visit us at Ghent, next year.' 
The blunder was unfortunate, but there seemed no 
way of rectifying it. My father then gave : The 
Ladies of Rotterdam. 'Ah!' said Captain Eyk, in 
an undertone, 'Von Tromp is at the bottom of that, 
I know. He has left his heart in Eotterdain.' The 
Captain then spoke of his own wife with great affec- 
tion. * I have a picture of her on board my ship,' he 
said, ' and it is generally covered by a curtain ; but 
when the storms come and the winds are high I draw 
the curtain aside, because it does me good to see her 
smile.' 

" The conversation turning upon General Washing- 
ton, Captain Eyk said, 'When I pass Mt. Vernon, 
every color on my ship shall be lowered and every 
gun fired, and I and my men shall stand with our 
hats off.' The Duke then told several long stories 
about the proceedings of the Catholics and the 
way in which their plans had been defeated. At 
some of them he laughed, and was joined by the 
company; but he spoke so fast and in such im- 
perfect English that I did not hear them distinctly 
enough to report. When we went into the drawing- 
room, the Duke seated himself before the piano. 
Mr. Everett, who followed us, seemed amused at his 
position ; but, preserving all veneration of tone and 
manner, said, 'Ladies, cannot you prevail upon his 
Highness to favor us with a tune ? ' But our guest 



168 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

did not perform upon any instrument ; and, after some 
talk about music and French masters, he went into 
the library. Captain Ryk, then being asked by my 
youngest sister to cut out something for her, took 
paper and scissors and produced two beautiful little 
flowers, a rose and a hyacinth. They were exqui- 
sitely fashioned, the leaves being arranged with the 
greatest taste. He laughed and talked all the time 
he was at work, and said, when he had finished, 

* Now, you must not show these flowers to any of 
my men, or all my discipline would be at an end.' 
On his return from the library, the Duke expressed 
a wish to attend a family celebration, which would 
take place in 1833. ' That will be in eight years,' 
said he, ' and one of my sons will then be old enough 
to go to college ; so I will send him to Harvard.' My 
mother asked if he did not intend to have his son 
educated at Jena, and spoke of Weimar as the Athens 
of Germany. 'As for Weimar,' replied the Duke, 

* almost all the literary men who once made it famous 
are dead, and to Jena I would never send a son. 
No, I had rather give him a pistol and put him in 
the midst of a battle than send him to that univer- 
sity. In battle he might have some chance of escape, 
or at least die honorably ; in Jena he would be sure 
to be ruined. The fashions of the place are to rebel 
against the government and to fight duels.' The 
Duke's account corresponded exactly with what Mr. 
Ticknor had told me of the German universities, and 
I liked him for speaking so openly of the faults of 
his country. 



DUKE OF SAXE-WEIMAR AND CAPTAIN RYK. 169 

" At length, after all the other gentlemen had de- 
parted, the carriage drove to the door. Captain Byk 
was in high spirits, laughing and talking with the 
girls and even beginning to sing, when the Duke 
said to him in German that it was time to go. The 
instantaneous change in his manner was very strik- 
ing. All his drollery vanished, as he raised his hand 
to his head and made a military sign of obedience. 
Both gentlemen then shook hands very cordially with 
us all, the Captain saying that he should come and 
see us again before leaving Boston. I have been so 
taken up with the foreigners that I have said noth- 
ing of Dr. Cooper, the President of Columbia College, 
who is a learned and remarkable man. He has a very 
singular head, but is short and has the appearance of 
a man who has spent his life among books. Though 
his dress is neglected, there is much dignity in his 
manner, and [the Duke paid him marked attention 
whenever he spoke. I should like to see him again, 
when we are more at leisure." 

I have before me the account of another long 
summer afternoon which Captain Eyk passed with 
us at Quincy, on which occasion he played upon the 
guitar, with the skill of a troubadour ; but this I am 
compelled to omit, together with a notice of the re- 
ception and dance he gave on board the " Pallas/' in 
acknowledgment of the civilities he had received in 
Boston. I have come upon some letters from the 
Duke and Captain Ryk,|the former writing in French 
and the latter in English, in which he stumbles so 
prettily that I must copy the story of the dog " Bos- 



170 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

ton " (a noble animal, given to the Captain as a me- 
morial of his visit) just as his master tells it. The 
letter was written about a year after his visit, and 
the " young similar dog " has done duty as a house- 
hold phrase ever since. 

" I have had the misfortune to lose my poor New- 
foundland dog, my poor ' Boston.' One of my ser- 
vants played with him imprudently with the stop of 
a glass decanter. The dog swallowed it. The ser- 
vant dared not give me information thereof, and a 
few days afterward my poor ' Boston ' died. I cannot 
tell you how deeply I feel the loss of that faithful 
animal. He was so beloved in my household that 
both my wife and children wept at his death, and I 
confess that I was very near to do the same. Could 
you find me another — a young similar dog ? I will 
equally call him ' Boston/ The former, stuffed, I be- 
lieve you call it (empaillS, says the Frenchman), still 
lays in my cabin, and shall remain there till a living 
one shall come in his place. I hope you will be able 
to read this letter. I am always at a loss when I 
write English ; but, should my expressions fail, you 
may be sure the meanings are good and my heart 
beats warmly for you and your countrymen. God 
bless them all." 

An extract from yet another letter, dated September 
1, 1839, shall give us a last glimpse of good Captain 

,,Eyk:- 

"I am now admiral. My breast is covered with 
crosses ; but my heart is the same as when I lived 
among my Boston friends, and whenever we meet 



DUKE OF SAXE-WEIMAK AND CAPTAIN RYK. 171 

again they will find the shaking of the hand will 
be equally heartily 'as it was fourteen years ago, 
and that no badges of honor outside have made a 
change in my old-fashioned, plain Dutch heart. My 
new situation as governor-general of the Dutch West 
India Colonies gives me so much occupation that I 
have little time to write to my friends. Our good 
king (a king that even a stern republican might love 
and admire) has placed great confidence in me, and I 
must make myself worthy of it. When you have 
time, do write to me about my Boston friends. I have 
not forgotten any of them, nor the town ; not even 
the beautiful trees on the Common." 

The volume of my journal marked " 1855 " gives a 
parting look at the Duke of Sax e- Weimar. It is 
Sunday, the 15th of July, of the year just named; 
and at the close of the day I devote some pages to a 
description of its occurrences. Mr. August Belmont, 
our minister to the Hague, where I was then staying j 
called for me in the afternoon, and, in company with 
Mr. Tyson, of Pennsylvania, we drove in a New York 
trotting-wagon (at which the sober Dutchmen stared) 
to a fine sea-beach in the neighborhood. There we 
found a hotel, a band playing, and groups of well- 
dressed people regaling themselves at little tables or 
walking upon the sands. " All the foreign ministers 
are here this afternoon," said Mr. Belmont, " and there 
are many of the nobility of Holland." A gentle rip- 
ple of sensation ran through the company as a lady 
and gentleman descended from a carriage and walked 
upon the sands. " There is the Queen, and the old 



172 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

gentleman with her is the Duke of Saxe- Weimar," 
said one of my companions. I gazed intently upon 
the features of an elderly man, slightly lame and 
nearly blind, and could find little in common with 
those of the handsome officer in the prime of life 
whom we had feted thirty years before. It has been 
said that a man will differ from his former self more 
than many men of the same age differ from one 
another. So far as the physical organization goes, this 
is probably true, and a feeling of overwhelming sad- 
ness oppressed me as the tall shadow passed across 
the beach. As etiquette prevented any approach to 
the Duke while in attendance upon the Queen, I had 
time to recall the old associations before meeting him 
in the evening ; for that evening we did meet, and 
what a talk we had ! The Duke was, after all, the 
frank and simple gentleman with whom I had strolled 
about an old Boston, guiltless of a foreign element, of 
railroads, and of transcendentalism. He gave me a 
rapid sketch of his subsequent life. He had 'passed 
many years in the East Indies, as commander of the 
Dutch forces, and had now come to end his days with 
his daughter, who had married a brother of the king- 
He told me that our good friend Admiral Eyk had 
died the year before, and that Von Tromp was at the 
head of the navy yard at Amsterdam. His remem- 
brances of America were very vivid, and he asked 
with great interest concerning the subsequent histo- 
ries of the friends he had made in Boston. We had 
met in the fashionable club-house of " The Hague," 
and upon this neutral ground our intercourse was 



DUKE OF S AXE-WEIMAR AND CAPTAIN RYK. 173 

easier than would have been possible under other 
circumstances. In fact, we talked till late into the 
night. The Duke called upon me before breakfast 
the next morning ; but I missed him and we never 
met again. The painful impression of the infirm man 
is happily blurred in my memory ; and when the Duke 
of Saxe- Weimar is mentioned I see only the symmet- 
rical figure of the young hero who was our guest in 
1825. 



THE GOVERNOR AT NANTUCKET. 



["F Governor Long, of Massachusetts, should visit 
-*■ Nantucket some summer day (as he is very likely 
to do), the circumstance would create no special stir 
in a community where life is even now a little 
monotonous. He might leave Boston in the morn- 
ing, pass a few hours on the island, and return to a 
late dinner. The inhabitants would pursue their 
usual vocations, totally unaware that anything re- 
markable had taken place. It was far otherwise in 
the autumn of 1825, when Governor Lincoln made 
his memorable visit to their island. No governor of 
Massachusetts had ever trodden the shores of Nan- 
tucket, and the impression of the executive boot 
upon its sands excited the same sort of interest as 
the print of an unclad foot awakened in the breast 
of De Foe's immortal islander. 

Surely it was time for a well-disposed governor to 
brave the fatigues and perils of the journey, in order 
to show himself in one of the most prosperous coun- 
ties under his sway ; for at that time the island con- 
tained eight thousand inhabitants, and did a greater 
amount of business in respect to its population than 
any county in the State, with the single exception of 



THE GOVERNOR AT NANTUCKET. 175 

Suffolk. And so Governor Lincoln resolved to break 
the spell which had held the long line of his prede- 
cessors from their thriving province ; and, accordingly, 
his aides-de-camp, John Brazer Davis and myself, 
were commanded to hold ourselves in readiness to 
accompany the expedition. We were ordered to ap- 
pear without uniforms, an unheard-of omission when 
in attendance upon the commander-in-chief; but Lin- 
coln saw that any military reception or civil parade 
could not be expected in a community in which the 
Quakers or Friends were the predominating power, 
and that, with their well-known views respecting the 
legitimacy of war, an exhibition of the trappings even 
of holiday colonels would be out of taste. I feel sure 
that our good chief must have come to these con- 
clusions with some reluctance. Personally he would 
have liked the entry upon horseback and in full uni- 
form that was then customary for a governor. He 
rode well, and carried off the epaulets, gold lace, and 
plume with easy dignity, as the decent proprieties of 
his position. And this excellent Democrat lived to 
see a successor from the opposing party who declined 
to honor public occasions with the modest decoration 
of a shirt-collar. The tendency to cut away all 
graceful fringes and ornaments from our rulers is too 
strong to be resisted; but I doubt whether official 
position has gained in purity by discarding all its 
innocent symbolism. 

On Tuesday, September 5th, at eleven o'clock in 
the forenoon, the Governor entered the Plymouth 
stage, and, with Hezekiah Barnard, Treasurer of the 



176 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Commonwealth, and Aaron Hill, Postmaster of Bos- 
ton, occupied the back seat, which, as the place of 
honor, had been reserved for these dignitaries. The 
middle and front seats were then filled by Miss Abby 
Hedge, three young ladies whose names I have not 
preserved, Colonel Davis, and myself. A merry six- 
hours' ride we had of it, — we young people, at least. 
My journal tells how bright and lively was Miss 
Hedge, who was quite a match for a couple of colo- 
nels in readiness of apprehension, and who, when the 
fire of fun and repartee began to slacken, produced 
just the stimulant required in the form of a package 
of peppermints. This animated young lady afterward 
married a gentleman quite equal to herself in humor 
and good social qualities. The name of Charles H. 
Warren (better known as Judge Warren) could never 
be mentioned by his contemporaries without a smile 
of obligation. It has been my fortune to preside at 
several public dinners, — indeed, I counted up some 
thirty of them the other day; and, of all men, it 
becomes me to express a sense of the value of his 
contributions to the general mirth. " Is Judge War- 
ren to be at your dinner ? " was my first question to 
the committees who came to offer me the head of the 
table. * If he is to be there, and will consent to be 
called upon, why then I, or any other King Log, will 
do for a president." And quite as important was 
the presence of Mrs. Warren (that was to be) to the 
enjoyment of the bevy of careless travellers who sat 
face to face upon the front seats of that Plymouth 
coach. What cared we for the grave discussions of 



THE GOVERNOR AT NANTUCKET. 177 

the Governor, Treasurer, and Postmaster, who were 
running the State just behind us ? How soon would 
it be possible to complete a canal from Boston har- 
bor to the Connecticut Eiver ? Would or would not 
the Commissioners report that the scheme was prac- 
ticable ? What then of the project of uniting Lakes 
Champlain and Memphremagog with our central 
stream, and so whitening Massachusetts Bay with 
the sails which this magnificent opening of the back 
country would necessitate ? These and other ques- 
tions quite as momentous were thoroughly discussed 
upon the back seat, and the reader might have heard 
all about them if the future Mrs. Warren and her fair 
companions had only taken passage by some other 
coach. In that case it is pretty certain that one of 
the colonels would have pulled out his note-book and 
appropriated some of the wisdom which his superiors 
were dispensing with such liberality. 

We had a public reception at Plymouth, for a 
governor was in those days an unusual guest even 
in places within six hours' staging of the capital. 
The principal citizens assembled about our party, and 
performed the ceremony of hand-shaking in behalf of 
the less honorable multitude who had not yet learned 
to demand their full rights in this particular. I have 
heard some of our more recent public men confess 
that submission to the tactual privileges of their 
equal democrats was the bitterest trial of official 
position, one of them informing me that he was ac- 
customed to devote a day to groaning with poulticed 
hand and bandaged arm after receiving the honors of 

12 



178 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

a reception. Fortunately, the mild flavor of aristoc- 
racy still surrounding a governor saved Lincoln from 
this infliction, — fortunately, I say; for his Excel- 
lency had no time for poulticing, but was compelled 
to rise at half past three the morning after the lim- 
ited hand-shaking of the reception, in order to undergo 
the more general shaking of the stage which bore our 
party to Sandwich. A noted resort for sportsmen 
was Sandwich in those days, and a famous inn, whose 
cook knew how to dress the birds which the guns of 
the guests never failed to furnish, added to the repu- 
tation of the town. And in this inn Daniel Webster 
was staying at the time of our visit, though we missed 
him, as he had gone off to shoot plover. The great 
man, however, was by no means unmindful of his 
duty to the head of the State, and had supplied a 
proxy, in the person of his friend, George Blake. 
"You must stay behind and see that the Governor 
gets the right sort of breakfast after his long ride," 
said Mr. Webster. And so Mr. Blake did stay, and 
was eminently successful in providing a meal which, 
garnished with his own charming manners, still lives 
in my memory as the ideal of all country breakfasts. 
After this liberal entertainment we journeyed on to 
Falmouth, where we arrived somewhat before noon, 
and there, all ready to set sail, we found the Nan- 
tucket packet ; and there also we found a head wind, 
which positively prohibited the Nantucket packet 
from doing anything of the sort. Oh, those head 
winds ! What plagues they were to those who were 
in a hurry to leave our harbors, and how steam has 



THE GOVERNOR AT NANTUCKET. 179 

lengthened the lives of travellers by sparing them 
those dreary waits ! We had risen at a most uncom- 
fortable hour, to post on to Falmouth ; and here we 
might remain a week, unless the wind condescended 
to blow from some quarter that would allow our 
vessel to get out of the bay. We accepted this fact 
with such philosophy as was available, listening the 
while to the prognostications of the skippers and 
frequently gazing at the heavens for such hopes or 
consolations as they might supply. But we were 
not, on this occasion, to be tried beyond our strength ; 
for as the sun went down the wind hauled several 
points, and we were off. Concerning the passage, I 
will only observe that the Nantucket packet, although 
it carried the ruler of a sovereign state, could by no 
means transform itself into a royal yacht. We were 
stowed in narrow bunks, in an indiscriminate and 
vulgar manner, and took such repose as we might till 
two o'clock in the morning, when a sudden thud, 
followed by an unpleasant swashing sound about the 
sides of the vessel, brought us to our feet to in- 
quire what had happened. " All right ! " said the 
skipper. " Just you lie still till morning. We 're 
aground on Nantucket Bar. That 's all." Thus ad- 
jured, we thought it best to remain below, till a faint 
suspicion of dawn struggled into the cabin and gave 
us an excuse for coming upon deck. Several whaling 
ships, anchored outside the harbor, loomed to gigan- 
tic proportions in the gray morning. " There is Yan- 
kee perseverance for you ! " exclaimed the Governor. 
u Would they believe in Europe that a port which 



180 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

annually sends eighty of those whalers to the Pacific 
has a harbor which a sloop drawing eight feet of 
water cannot enter ? " 

Soon after sunrise the tide lighted us over the bar, 
and it was not long before two whale-boats were seen 
pulling sturdily for the packet. In the stern of one 
sat Mr. Barker Burnell, and in the other Mr. Macey, 
both leading men, to whom the islanders had dele- 
gated the duties of reception. And full of modest 
cordiality was our greeting by the occupants of the 
boats and by the crowd of citizens who had assem- 
bled upon the shore to see the Governor land. There 
was no pushing or vulgar staring ; indeed, there was 
a certain pervading air of diffidence by no means 
characteristic of street assemblies upon the conti- 
nent ; but the heartiest good- will beamed from sober 
faces when the long spell was broken and the execu- 
tive fairly stood upon Nantucket sands. 

As there was no house sufficiently capacious to 
accommodate our party, it was divided among the 
hospitable inhabitants, the Governor and Colonel 
Davis being entertained by Mr. Macey, Mr. Hill by 
Treasurer Barnard, and the youngest aide-de-camp by 
Mr. Burnell. And then came visits to the whale- 
ships and the spermaceti works, dinners, and evening 
receptions, the latter being graced by the presence of 
very pretty young women. Then on Saturday morn- 
ing carriages were ordered to take us to Siasconset, — 
that is, it will sound better to call them carriages ; 
but they were, in fact, springless tip-carts, very like 
those used at the present day for the carting of gravel. 



THE GOVERNOK AT NANTUCKET. 181 

The ancient Eomans, when enjoying a triumph, ap- 
pear to have ridden in two-wheeled vehicles, bearing 
considerable resemblance to that in which our Massa- 
chusetts chieftain passed through the admiring streets 
of Nantucket ; but none of these old heroes balanced 
himself more deftly in his chariot, took its jolts with 
more equanimity, or bowed more graciously to the 
populace than did good Governor Lincoln, when un- 
dergoing his transportation by tip-cart. There are 
some personalities which seem to supply their own 
pageantry. Mr. Pickwick is not extinguished even 
when tnmdled in a wheelbarrow. The escort, how- 
ever (perhaps from having no adequate official dignity 
to bear them up), rather wilted before they reached 
Siasconset, and found the noble chowder there pre- 
pared for their commander-in-chief very acceptable. 

The Governor's visit may be said to have reached 
its crisis in a solemn reception at the Insurance Office, 
whither repaired all the leading citizens, to be pre- 
sented to their guest. Many of them were old 
whalers, simple and intelligent, yet with that air of 
authority which the habit of command, exercised in 
difficult situations, is sure to give. Their ruddy 
health, strong nerves, and abundant energy made one 
suspect that there were some of the finest human 
qualities which are not to be tested by the exami- 
nations of Harvard College. I was introduced to 
several of these men who had never been on the con- 
tinent of North America, though they had visited 
South America and the Pacific Islands. I have noted 
also talking with one Quaker gentleman of sixty, who 



182 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

had seen no other horizon than that which bounds 
Nantucket. The Friends, being the oldest and most 
respectable body of Christians, gave their sombre 
color to the town and their thrifty ways to those 
holding its purse-strings. For instance, when it was 
complained that Nantucket, the greatest depot of sper- 
maceti and whale oil in the whole world, was, like- 
wise, its darkest corner in the evening, it was replied 
that it would be culpably extravagant to consume at 
home in street-lanterns oil that had been procured 
for exportation. Moreover, the reckless innovator 
was invited to impale himself upon one of the horns 
of this little dilemma : " Oil was either high, or low. 
Now, if it was low, the citizens could not afford to pay 
the tax; but if it was high, the town could not afford 
to purchase it." After the reception, we all went to 
the barber-shop, not to be shaved, but to inspect the 
collection of South Sea curiosities of which this func- 
tionary was the custodian. And here we lingered 
till it was time to prepare for the grand party in 
honor of the Governor, which would furnish a bril- 
liant conclusion to his visit. 

This party was given by Mr. Aaron Mitchell, and 
was said to be the finest in all its appointments that 
the island had yet known. There was, of course, no 
dancing ; but the number of beautiful and lively 
young women impressed me as exceeding anything 
that could be looked for in a similar gathering upon 
the mainland, and filled me with regrets that we were 
to sail at daybreak the next morning. My journal 
relates how I was expressing my feelings in this par- 



THE GOVERNOR AT NANTUCKET. 183 

ticular to a bright bevy of these girls, when Heze- 
kiah Barnard suddenly joined our group and put in 
this remark : " Friend, if thou really wishest to tarry 
on our island, thou hast only to persuade one of these 
young women to put a black cat under a tub, and 
surely there will be a head wind to-morrow." This 
sailors' superstition, of which I had never heard, was 
the cause of much pleasantry. The ladies united in 
declaring that there was not a black cat in all Nan- 
tucket, they having been smothered under tubs, to 
retain husbands and brothers who were bound for the 
southern seas. At last Miss Baxter (" the prettiest 
girl in the room," says my record) confessed to the 
possession of a black kitten. But, then, would this 
do ? Surely, a very heavy and mature pussy, per- 
haps even two of them, would be required to keep a 
governor against his will. Yes ; but then an aide-de- 
camp could certainly be kept by a kitten, even if it 
were not weaned, and Miss Baxter had only to dis- 
miss the Governor from her thoughts and concentrate 
them upon his humble attendant, and the charm 
would work. I do not know whether young people 
talk in this way now, or whether they are as glad as 
Miss Baxter and I were to find some topic other than 
the weather to ring our simple changes on ; but I 
should refrain from personal episodes in this histori- 
cal epic, which deals with the august movements of 
the Governor. It is well for us chroniclers to re- 
member that the ego et rex mens way of telling things 
once got poor Cardinal Wolsey into a good deal of 
difficulty. 



184 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

" Wind dead ahead ! " were the words with which 
Mr. Burnell called me, the next morning. " The Gov- 
ernor must spend Sunday on the island, and we will 
show him a Quaker meeting and Micajah Coffin." 
An account of both these objects of interest finds its 
place in my journal. At the Friends' Society we sat 
for nearly an hour in absolute silence, and this seemed 
to me very favorable to reflection and devotional feel- 
ing. There was something in the absence of any 
human expression in the awful presence of the Maker 
which struck me as a more fitting homage than any 
words or ceremony could convey. It was only when 
two women felt themselves moved by the Spirit to 
address the assembly that my feelings underwent a 
quick revulsion, and I acknowledged that, for the 
majority of Christians at least, a trained and learned 
clergy would long be indispensable. After meeting, 
the Governor and his staff paid a visit of ceremony 
to Micajah Coffin, the oldest and most respected citi- 
zen of the island. At a time when the rulings of 
etiquette were far more stringent than at present, it 
was doubted whether the representative of a sover- 
eign state could properly call upon a private person 
who had not first waited upon him. Lincoln's de- 
cision that this case should be an exception to all 
general rules was no less creditable to the magistrate 
than gratifying to the islanders ; for good Friend 
Coffin, then past ninety, was at times unable to com- 
mand his memory, and his friends had not thought it 
right to subject him to the excitements of the recep- 
tion at the Insurance Office. For twenty-two years 



THE GOVERNOR AT NANTUCKET. 185 

this venerable man had represented Nantucket in the 
Massachusetts General Court. In his youth he had 
worked at carpentering and gone whaling in a sloop, 
bringing home on one occasion two hundred barrels 
of sperm oil, which made his owner a rich man. 
These latter particulars I learn from Mr. William C. 
Folger, of Nantucket, who remembers Mr. Coffin as 
" a tall old gentleman, dressed in the style of a past 
age." And one thing more Mr. Folger mentions, 
of which the significance will presently appear: 
" Benjamin Coffin, the father of Micajah, was one of 
Nantucket's best schoolmasters for about half a cen- 
tury." I had been looking in vain through college 
catalogues to explain a singular circumstance which 
my journal relates ; but the appearance of Benjamin 
Coffin the schoolmaster suggests the true solution of 
the difficulty. When this patriarch of Nantucket was 
presented to the Governor, it made so little impres- 
sion upon him that he instantly forgot the presence 
of the chief magistrate ; and yet a moment afterward 
he astonished us with one of those strange feats of 
memory which show with how tight a grip the mys- 
terious nerve-centres, of which we hear so much, hold 
what has been committed to them. For, having a 
dim consciousness that something out of the common 
was expected from him, the venerable man turned 
suddenly upon Postmaster Hill, and proceeded to 
harangue that very modest gentleman in a set Latin 
speech. It was one of those occurrences which might 
appear either sad or droll to the bystanders, and I 
hope it does not reflect upon the good feelings of the 



186 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

party to mention that we found its comic aspect quite 
irresistible. There was poor Mr. Hill, overcome with 
mortification at being mistaken for the Governor, and 
shrinking from fine Latin superlatives, which, under 
this erroneous impression, were discharged upon him. 
And when the Postmaster, at the conclusion of the 
address, felt that he was bound in courtesy to make 
some response (which, of course, could not be in the 
vernacular), and could hit upon nothing better than 
" Oui, Monsieur, je vous remercie" the climax was 
reached, and even the Governor was forced to give 
audible expression to his sense of the ridiculous. 
And thus it was that testimony was given to the 
good instruction of Master Benjamin Coffin. The 
father had undoubtedly taught his son Latin as a 
spoken language, as the custom formerly was. The 
lessons were given in the first half of the eighteenth 
century, and here am I, in the concluding fifth of the 
nineteenth, able to testify to the thoroughness of the 
teaching. 

Micajah Coffin lived for little more than a year 
after the visit of Lincoln. "In his old age," says 
Mr. Folger, "he took an interest in visiting the sick 
and aiding them in procuring native plants suited to 
cure or at least to relieve their various maladies." 
I learn, also, that in his rambles about Nantucket, 
when he met a face that was unknown to him, he 
was accustomed to stop and give this challenge : 
" Friend, my name is Micajah Coffin. What is 
thine ? " It was the robust assertion of a personality 
of which there was no reason to be ashamed, and 



THE GOVERNOR AT NANTUCKET. 187 

testifies to the reasonableness of the high esteem in 
which his character and services were held among 
his fellow-islanders. 

Early Monday morning we left Nantucket with a 
breeze which carried us to New Bedford in six hours. 
The Governor's reception in that town, the courtesy 
of the selectmen, the magnificent hospitalities of the 
Rotches and Rodmans, my space compels me to omit. 
One word, however, of the picture presented by the 
venerable William Rotch, ninety-three years of age, 
standing between his son and his grandson, the elder 
gentlemen being in their Quaker dresses and the 
youngest in the fashionable costume of the day. 
" You will never see a more ideal representation of 
extreme age, middle life, and vigorous maturity than 
is given by these three handsome and intelligent 
men," said Governor Lincoln to me, as we left the 
house. Up to this date, at least, his prediction has 
been verified. 



A JOUKNEY WITH JUDGE STOEY. 



TN the beginning of the year 1826, Judge Story in- 
-*■ vited me to accompany him to Washington, 
whither he was going to discharge his duties upon 
the Supreme Bench. My acquaintance with this dis- 
tinguished man began when, as an undergraduate, I 
dined with him in Salem, during a visit to that town. 
As a boy I was fascinated by the brilliancy of his 
conversation, and now that I was at the base of the 
profession which he adorned I regarded him with 
peculiar reverence. I remember my father's graphic 
account of the rage of the Federalists when "Joe 
Story, that country pettifogger, aged thirty- two," was 
made a judge of our highest court. He was a bitter 
Democrat in those days, and had written a Fourth of 
July oration which was as a red rag to the Federal 
bull. It was understood that years and responsibili- 
ties had greatly modified his opinions, and I happened 
to be present upon an occasion when the Judge al- 
luded to this early production in a characteristic way. 
We were dining at Professor Ticknor's, and Mr. Web- 
ster was of the party. In a pause of the conversa- 
tion, Story broke out : " I was looking over some old 
papers this morning, and found my Fourth of July 



A JOURNEY WITH JUDGE STORY. 189 

oration. So I read it through from beginning to 
end." 

"Well, sir," said Webster, in his deep and im- 
pressive bass, " now tell us honestly what you thought 
of it." 

" I thought the text very pretty, sir," replied the 
Judge ; " but I looked in vain for the notes. No au- 
thorities were stated in the margin." 

The invitation to go to Washington with Judge 
Story did not imply any promise of attention after we 
arrived in that city, as he was careful to point out 
when I received it. " The fact is," said he, " I can do 
very little for you there, as we judges take no part in 
the society of the place. We dine once a year with 
the President, and that is all. On other days we take 
our dinner together, and discuss at table the ques- 
tions t which are argued before us. We are great 
ascetics, and even deny ourselves wine, except in wet 
weather." Here the Judge paused, as if thinking that 
the act of mortification he had mentioned placed too 
severe a tax upon human credulity, and presently 
added : " What I say about the wine, sir, gives you 
our rule ; but it does sometimes happen that the Chief 
Justice will say to me, when the cloth is removed, 
1 Brother Story, step to the window and see if it does 
not look like rain.' And if I tell him that the sun is 
shining brightly, Judge Marshall will sometimes re- 
ply, ' All the better ; for our jurisdiction extends 
over so large a territory that the doctrine of chances 
makes it certain that it must be raining somewhere.' 
You know that the Chief was brought up upon Fed- 



190 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

eralism and Madeira, and he is not the man to out- 
grow his early prejudices." 

Before I begin my journey with Judge Story, I 
have been asked to say a word of my previous travels. 
I had visited Washington in 1807, accompanying 
my father, who was a member of Congress. I well 
remember the intolerable roads, and the flat-bottomed 
boats in which we crossed the Hudson and the Sus- 
quehanna, and that, on returning, we took a sloop 
between New York and Providence. No wonder that 
the statesmen of that day foretold the dissolution of 
the Union, from the vast extent of territory it occu- 
pied, and the consequent time and expense involved 
in assembling representatives. They thought they 
had all the data for calculation, and that it required 
only moderate powers of reasoning to see the result. 
Let us take heed by their example when we are 
tempted to characterize as Utopian the co-operative 
solution of the difficulties between labor and capital 
by which we are at present beset. The dream of no 
enthusiast can appear so incredible to us as the 
prophecy that, within a life then existing, a represen- 
tative from the Pacific Coast might reach Washington 
with far less fatigue and expense than was incurred 
by the representative from Boston would have seemed 
to the gentlemen in powdered hair and pigtails whom 
I dimly remember in Washington. The city itself 
presented a forlorn appearance. Blocks of houses 
had been commenced ; the speculators had failed ; 
and unfinished buildings, without doors or windows, 
were in every street. I recall all this very distinctly, 



A JOURNEY WITH JUDGE STORY. 191 

because there was a print of the " Euins of Palmyra " 
which I pointed out to my parents, on our way home, 
with the exclamation, " Why, there 's a picture of 
Washington ! " This innocent blunder was consid- 
ered a most felicitous characterization of the general 
appearance of the city, and for years after the "Euins 
of Palmyra " was used in the family as a convenient 
synonym for the capital of the nation. 

Nineteen years after, when I made the journey 
with Judge Story, stages ran regularly between New 
York and Boston. They left the latter city at three 
in the morning, and at two o'clock a man was 
sent round to the houses of those who were booked 
for a passage. His instructions were to knock, pull 
the bell, shout, and disturb the neighborhood as much 
as possible, in order that the person who was to take 
the stage might be up and dressed when it reached 
his door. Light sleepers in the vicinity were made 
painfully aware when the stage was expected, and were 
often afflicted with an hour of uneasy consciousness, 
till it had rumbled through the street and taken up 
its passenger. In the mean time the inmates of the 
stage waited through the dreary hours preceding day- 
break, till they could see the faces of their fellow- 
travellers and commence that intimate acquaintance 
with them which a ride of some days seldom failed 
to effect. People who never talked anywhere else 
were driven to talk in those old coaches; while a 
ready conversationalist, like Judge Story, was stimu- 
lated to incessant cerebral discharges. When the sun 
at length revealed our fellow-passengers, they turned 



192 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

out to be Mr. and Mrs. McCobb, from Maine, who 
were escorting to Washington the Misses Cleaves, 
two young ladies who, as we were privately informed, 
were heiresses, and were to make their ddbut in the 
society of the capital. 

Besides these, there was Mr. John Knapp, brother- 
in-law to Chief Justice Shaw, of Massachusetts. He 
was a lawyer, somewhat diminutive in stature, who 
was on his way to Washington to argue before the 
Supreme Court. He was fully awake to the good 
fortune which gave him one of the judges as a fel- 
low-traveller, and succeeded in making an agreeable 
impression upon us all. My journal mentions a very 
funny account he gave of an employment which, in 
his earlier days, he had combined with that of legal 
adviser. He was held by his neighbors to possess a 
very pretty talent for composition, and it came to 
pass that he was constantly called upon to write love- 
letters of the most confidential and tender character. 
He had thought of establishing rates of charges to 
correspond with the fire and pathos that was required 
in these productions, and might have created a per- 
manent business, had the noble profession of the law 
failed to support him. " But the worst of it is," said 
Mr. Knapp, glancing at the young ladies, "I have 
glowed with such fervors on behalf of other people 
that I seem to have lost the capacity of feeling on 
my own account, and, consequently, have remained a 
wretched bachelor to this day." Lest we might con- 
sider his success limited to amatory literature, Mr. 
Knapp went on to tell us of a sea-captain of his 



A JOURNEY WITH JUDGE STORY. 193 

acquaintance who engaged him to write his epitaph. 
"This was, to be sure, somewhat out of my line," 
said the little lawyer, " and I might have failed with- 
out discredit ; but the fact was, I gave my employer 
such satisfaction that he actually had my epitaph cut 
upon a gravestone, and enjoined it upon his executors 
to add nothing but the date when the time came to 
set it up." 

Judge Story was one of the great talkers at a period 
when conversation was considered a sort of second 
profession. At dinners, when the time was limited 
and other distinguished men were present, he some- 
times talked too much; but in the coach he could not 
pour himself out too abundantly for the pleasure of his 
listeners. He had spent part of the previous summer 
in travelling with Daniel Webster, and had added a 
fresh stock of observation and anecdote to his abun- 
dant repertoire. There was only one thing he did 
not talk about, and that was law. As the expressive 
phrase goes, he " sunk the shop ; " though this same 
"shop" would have been a subject most interesting 
to at least two of his companions. A person who 
did not know Judge Story might have taken him for 
one of those agreeable individuals who are so well in- 
formed in all departments that they can be great in 
none. If required to find the most learned jurist of 
the age in that coach, such a person would have 
pitched upon Mr. McCobb or Mr. Knapp. Certainly, 
this courteous gentleman, all whose reading seemed 
to be poetry and belles-lettres, could not be the man. 
It was sarcastically said of Lord Brougham, when he 

13 



194 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

was Chancellor of England, that, if he only knew a 
little law, he would know a little of everything. But 
this bitter saying was nothing but an inversion of 
the tribute Judge Parsons received from John Lowell, 
who declared that Parsons knew more law than any- 
body else, and more of everything else than he did 
of law. The compliment is so neat that we forgive 
its extravagance ; but it is certainly as applicable to 
Story as to the elder jurist. I can give no better idea 
of the intimate relations developed in the old stage- 
coach than by mentioning that before night the Judge 
was favoring us with recitations of original poetry. 
They were not brief selections either, and were rolled 
off with evident confidence in their excellence. Sub- 
sequently, Judge Story came to the conclusion that 
the Muses were not favorable to his invocations, and 
actually bought up and burned all attainable copies 
of a poem called the " Power of Solitude," which he 
once committed to the press. But a conviction of 
sin in this particular had not yet reached our learned 
companion. He found occasion to quote Pope's lam- 
entation, " How sweet an Ovid was in Murray lost ! " 
and evidently thought that the stanza might find an 
American application. Cicero, John Quincy Adams, 
and other great men never quite accepted the fact 
that their abilities and application gave them no 
foothold upon Parnassus ; and if Judge Story was at 
one time not free from the delusion which afflicted 
these his distinguished peers, he was at least mis- 
taken in good company. He had the knack of 
rhyming with ease, and it was said that he would 



A JOURNEY WITH JUDGE STORY. 195 

sometimes beguile the hours of tedious argument to 
which he was compelled to listen by making his notes 
in verse. 

As we jogged on, the conversation fell upon novels, 
and, this being a subject we could all talk about, it 
remained there for a good many miles. After the 
tribute to the powers of Scott, which was a matter of 
course, Judge Story spoke of Mrs. Eadcliffe in terms 
of great admiration, and wished she could have had 
some of the weird legends of Marblehead upon which 
to display her wealth of lurid imagery. Miss Bur- 
ney's " Evelina " he thought very bright and fasci- 
nating, while the conversations of Maria Edgeworth 
were Nature itself, and yet full of point — the duller 
speeches of her characters being simply omitted, as 
was proper in a work of art. On a subsequent occa- 
sion, I heard him place Jane Austen much above 
these writers, and compliment her with a panegyric 
quite equal to those bestowed by Scott and Macaulay. 
" It is only the nature of their education," said the 
Judge, " which puts women at such disadvantages 
and keeps up the notion that they are our inferiors in 
ability. What would a man be without his profes- 
sion or business, which compels him to learn some- 
thing new every day ? The best sources of knowledge 
are shut off from women, and the surprise is that 
they manage to keep so nearly abreast with us as 
they do." I think that I am safe in saying that 
Judge Story was alone among the prominent men of 
that day in the adoption of views respecting women 
very similar to those afterward proclaimed by Mr. 



196 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Mill. He would not admit that sex or temperament 
assigned them an inferior part in the intellectual de- 
velopment of the race. It was all a matter of train- 
ing. Give them opportunities of physical and mental 
education equal to those enjoyed by men, and there 
was nothing to disqualify them from attaining an 
equal success in any field of mental effort. Whether 
his views were drawn from reliable data and have 
been sustained by subsequent experience are ques- 
tions upon which a writer of reminiscences need not 
enter ; but it seems due to all parties to say that 
many of the theoretical opinions published by Mr. 
Mill were anticipated by Joseph Story. 

The first night of our journey was spent at Ashford, 
in Connecticut, where we arrived late in the evening ; 
and here the bother of the wild-cat currency, as it 
was afterward called, was forced upon our attention. 
The bills of local banks would not circulate beyond 
the town in which they were issued, and when Judge 
Story, who had neglected to provide himself with 
United States notes, offered the landlord a Salem bill, 
in payment for his supper, the man stared at it as if 
it had been the wampum of the Indians or the shell- 
money of the South Sea Islanders. " This is not 
good," said the host, " and I think you must know it." 
"I know it is good," retorted the Judge, testily ; "and 
I'll tell you how I know it. I made it myself." This 
reply, of which the landlord could make nothing, 
unless it were the confession of a forger, did not 
mend matters ; and it was fortunate that I had pro- 
vided myself with some national notes, which ended 



A JOURNEY WITH JUDGE STORY. 197 

the difficulty. The explanation may have been that 
Judge Story, as president of some Salem bank, had 
signed the bill in question, though I have not at hand 
the means of verifying the fact that he held such an 
office. Our present system of currency, which makes 
the bills of petty banks good throughout the nation, 
and indeed in all civilized countries, is a blessing 
which the present generation cannot fully appreciate. 

Another day, and we reached New Haven, where 
we passed the night. The early hours of Sunday 
that we were allowed in this city I spent in visiting 
the churches, in attendance upon the Misses Cleaves, 
" who, being fresh from boarding-school " (so says my 
journal), "are somewhat romantic." May it chance 
that either of these fair young creatures (for so they 
must be to me) are yet living ? May it happen that 
either of them survives to read this narrative of our 
journey with the great Judge ? Were they also keep- 
ing journals ? It is just possible that the publication 
of this paper may bring me some news of their lives 
during the fifty-four years since we parted company. 1 

1 It resulted in a correspondence with the venerable Mrs. A. C. 
Duramer of Hallowell, Maine, the survivor of the sisters men- 
tioned in the text. " Little did I think," wrote this lady, " that, 
when taking the journey alluded to, which was the first great event 
of my life, ' being fresh from boarding-school and somewhat roman- 
tic,' I should be reminded of it after a period of fifty-four years by 
one of the party who enjoyed the privilege of the friendly inter- 
course, the pleasure, and instruction derived from the unlimited 
fund of conversation and knowledge possessed by Judge Story. 
During the long course of years since that time, each member of 
that stage-coach party has been held in pleasant remembrance." 



198 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Leaving New Haven at ten in the morning, we 
reached Stamford about dark. The day following we 
drove into the great city in time for a late dinner. It 
seemed quite incredible ! We had left Boston early 
Friday morning, had driven all the way, and here we 
were, Monday evening, actually dining in New York. 
It need not be said that we congratulated ourselves 
upon living in the days of rapid communication, and 
looked with commiseration upon the condition of our 
fathers, who were wont to consume a whole week in 
travelling between the cities. 



FBOM NEW YOEK TO WASHINGTON. 



WHEN Judge Story and his companion reached 
their lodgings at Mrs. Frazier's boarding- 
house, on the afternoon of the 30th of January, 1826, 
they were met by a solemn announcement. New 
York had succumbed to the influenza. Everybody 
had been, was, or was going to be sick with it. This 
mysterious disorder, travelling in the path of the 
Asiatic cholera, was now making the tour of America, 
some parts of which it visited with great severity. 
It was known as " the winter epidemic " in Phila- 
delphia, and in the South, where it was very fatal 
among the negro population, as "the cold plague." 
The simple faith in the power of medicine was in 
those days quite touching, and for the question " What 
ought I to do ? " which sensible persons now ask when 
disorder threatens the body, there was substituted the 
inquiry " What ought I to take ? " The answers 
came thick and fast, and here are a few of them. 
Take linseed and licorice, also barley water, also a 
mixture of vinegar and sugar candy, also wine of 
antimony, then try senna, and, above all things, prac- 
tise no short-sighted economy in the matter of blue 
pills. I declined to fortify my system with any of 



200 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

these admirable doses, for it was evident to me that 
everybody was not sick, after all. There was Cooper, 
for instance, — - " Cooper, the noblest Eoman of them 
all," as Charles Sprague called him in his Phi Beta 
poem upon Curiosity, — he, at least, had no influenza, 
for the bills announced that he was to play one of 
his best Shakespearian parts, Mark Antony in " Julius 
Caesar," that very night. And, for further assurance, 
no sooner had we seated ourselves at Mrs. Frazier's 
dining-table than Cooper himself stalked into the 
room and took a place in our neighborhood. He was 
a fine-looking man of about fifty, and we found his 
conversation to be that of an educated gentleman, with 
just that dash of easy Bohemianism which young 
people find attractive. Americans can never feel 
about any other actor as we once felt about Cooper, 
who came to our shores in the last century and 
had created our conceptions of the greater characters 
in the Shakespearian drama. I have before me some 
letters written from Boston, in 1807, which testify to 
the fascinations of Cooper's acting at that date. They 
mention that the fashionable circles of the town could 
make nothing of Hamlet until Cooper came to show 
them what Shakespeare meant by that mysterious 
personage. About the time I met him in New York 
he was much admired in Romeo (Miss Kelly being 
the Juliet), a part which he played much better than 
when he was a young man. And so theatre-goers 
matched a saying of Edmund Kean's, that only a 
young man could play King Lear, by declaring that 
it required an old one to give the best representation 
of the boy -lover of Verona. 



FROM NEW YORK TO WASHINGTON. 201 

After dinner, I repaired to my uncle's house on 
the Battery, then the ornament of New York and 
surrounded by the wealth and fashion of the city. 
Everybody there was down with the influenza; but 
one of my cousins, less afflicted than the rest, insisted 
upon getting up to go with me to Mrs. Hamilton 
Holley's splendid ball, which it would never do for a 
stranger to miss. And a splendid ball it was ! — or 
was meant to be. Handsome rooms, a fine band of 
music, and a good supper. There was but one draw- 
back, — there were no guests. Six ladies, says my 
journal, and a few more gentlemen were the only 
influenzaless persons in the polite society of New 
York; and one of these six ladies was from Phila- 
delphia. This was Miss Anna Gillespie ; and much 
amusement we had together over this ball, which was 
no ball, in the arrogant metropolis. We had been 
brought by our respective friends as humble provin- 
cials to gaze upon social glories we could never emu- 
late, and much innocent fun was the result. A trifling 
bond of union like this will put young people on 
easy terms for an evening, and when I left Mrs. 
Holley's ball, at one in the morning, it was with the 
feeling that for me, at least, the influenza had not 
despoiled it of agreeable incidents. 

Of our journey to Philadelphia I copy from my 
journal this brief notice : — 

"February 1, 1826. — We left our lodgings at five 
o'clock this morning, and, after waiting an hour for 
the ferry-boat, crossed to Powles Hook, breaking the 
ice all the way. Our party consisted of Judge Story, 



202 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Judge Thompson (who talked incessantly about plead- 
ing), a navy officer, and three ladies of uncertain 
reputation, with whom the said navy officer held high 
converse all the way. We had an opposition stage 
at our heels, and consequently drove very rapidly; 
but our detention at the ferry was so great that it 
was between eleven and twelve before we put up at 
the Mansion House." 

The next day I saw something of Philadelphia, and 
in the evening three acts of Kean's Hamlet, which I 
left, with great reluctance, to attend a supper-party 
at Mr. Nathaniel Amory's, "where I found every- 
thing in the Boston style, and could hardly believe, 
when I saw the jolly face of my host, that we were 
both so far from the land of our fathers. Here I met 
Messrs. Vaughan, Hopkinson, Meredith, with other 
notables of the city." On returning to the Mansion 
House, late in the evening, I found Judge Story pros- 
trated with the influenza, and, of course, unable to 
continue our journey to Washington. He begged 
me to abandon him to his fate, and to leave the next 
day, as we had intended. This I refused to do, as 
we were travelling companions for better or for 
worse, and it was clearly my duty to remain and 
take care of him. A delightful week in Philadelphia 
rewarded me for this consideration. As soon as the 
Judge was convalescent the great lawyers and mighty 
men of the city thronged to call upon him, and most 
interesting discussions went on in the sick-chamber. 
Of these I regret to say I made no notes, although 
my journal implies that the talk of those eminent 



FROM NEW YORK TO WASHINGTON. 203 

lawyers, Sergeant and Binney, would have been well 
worth reporting. Both of these men I heard in court 
during my visit. Sergeant was dull in his manner, 
giving a stranger no adequate impression of the depth 
and force of reasoning which had made him famous. 
His rival, Binney, on the contrary, had all the quali- 
ties which take at a glance. He was fine-looking 
and exceedingly graceful; his speaking was easy and 
often rose into eloquence. The men seemed to be 
pretty nearly abreast in the estimation of the bar. 

I soon had another distinguished patient; no less 
a person than Henry Wheaton, at that time reporter 
for the United States Supreme Court, and engaged in 
the preparation of those twelve volumes of decisions 
which will keep his name greener than all the good 
diplomatic work he afterward performed. He arrived 
at the Mansion House terribly afflicted with the pre- 
vailing epidemic, and, at the recommendation of 
Judge Story, who was now getting better, put himself 
under my care. In a day or two he so far recovered 
as to be no small addition to the distinguished circle 
which held its sessions in the Judge's parlor. My 
journal gives some notices of Philadelphia society: 
of a dinner at General Cadwallader's, and of a young 

man's supper-party at the house of Mr. . Of 

the latter entertainment the entry reads thus : " We 
met about eight ; looked over caricatures and played 
cards until nine. We were then summoned to an 
elegant supper, about twenty of the first young men 
of Philadelphia being the guests. They were not in- 
tellectual, and were in a fair way to be drunk when 



204 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

I left them at midnight." Probably nothing better 
could be said of the gilded youths of New York or 
Boston at that period of little literature and much 
conviviality. I find a notice of an evening at the 
theatre, whither I was taken by Mrs. Cadwallader, and 
where I was greatly surprised to see women admitted 
to the pit. The Beatrice of the play — I suppress the 
name of the actress, as she has long been past criti- 
cism — I find vulgar and coarse ; but the Dogberry of 
Jefferson (grandfather to Bip Van Winkle) was a 
revelation of the power of comic acting. It was mag- 
nificent. I tell how I stopped to laugh over it on 
my way home. I could not get rid of that superb 
patronage of Goodman Verges, and of the monstrous 
inflation of the "rich fellow enough, who knew the 
law and had had losses." 

On Sunday I listened to preaching from Dr. Aber- 
crombie, at St. John's Church, and heard some dis- 
cussion of a singular ecclesiastical privilege which 
then existed in Philadelphia. This was the right to 
obstruct the streets by chains during the hours of 
divine service. There were petitions going about for 
the repeal of the act of legislation which permitted 
proceedings which the objectors seemed to think 
worthy of the imaginary Blue Laws of Connecticut. 
It was alleged that doctors visiting their patients, 
and other travellers upon errands of mercy, were put 
to sore inconvenience by these chains across the high- 
ways. They were, moreover, typical of that fetter 
between Church and State which the Genius of 
America was supposed to have shattered. To all 



FROM NEW YORK TO WASHINGTON. 205 

which it was answered that a state which compelled 
no one to attend religious exercises must, at least, 
protect from annoyance those who choose to do so ; 
that medical men and the very few lawful travellers 
might well be required to go a little out of their way 
for the good of large classes of the community ; and 
that, as all other travellers were breaking the law by 
being out at all, it was the height of impudence to ask 
law-makers to consider their convenience while doing 
so. How the dispute was settled I am unable to say. 
It seemed to me one of those cases in which appear- 
ances which excite the imagination of any part of the 
community should have been avoided. Philadelphia 
is so built that the inconvenience of going round a 
block or two, to avoid disturbing worshippers, must 
have been scarcely appreciable ; but the chains did 
have a bad look about them, and proper police regula- 
tions should have prevented their employment. 

On Thursday, the ninth day of February, Judge 
Story and Mr. Wheaton were pronounced well enough 
to proceed on their way to the capital, provided they 
broke the journey and avoided the chill and exposure 
of the early morning. They accordingly left Phila- 
delphia by a private conveyance, and I was to over- 
take them, the next day, by the more fatiguing but 
more economical transportation of the regular stage. 
As the brief account of my progress toward Washing- 
ton seems to require no abridgment, the contempo- 
rary record shall be copied. 

" February 10, 1826. — At three o'clock this morning 
the light of a candle under the door and a rousing 



206 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

knock told me that it was time to depart, and shortly 
after I left Philadelphia by the Lancaster stage, other- 
wise a vast, illimitable wagon, with seats without 
backs, capable of holding some sixteen passengers 
with decent comfort to themselves, and actually en- 
cumbered with some dozen more. After riding till 
eight o'clock, we reached the Breakfast House, where 
we partook of a good meal and took up Messrs. Story 
and Wheaton. We then proceeded through a most 
beautiful tract of country, where good fences and huge 
stone barns proved the excellence of the farming. The 
road seemed actually lined with Conostoga wagons, 
each drawn by six stalwart horses and laden with 
farm produce. At Lancaster, the largest inland town 
in the United States, we changed stages and company. 
From that place to York our party consisted of Lang- 
don Cheves, formerly president of the United States 
Bank, Mr. Buchanan, a member of Congress from 
Pennsylvania, Mr. Henry, another member from Ken- 
tucky, Judge Story, Mr. Wheaton, and myself. I 
found the additions rather amusing men, and we rode 
together till some time after dark, when we reached 
York, found good accommodations, and are ready to 
turn in, it being about ten o'clock. 

"February 11. — After being detained till near ten 
by the non-arrival of the stage from Harrisburg, we 
started for Baltimore, and, after a tedious ride through 
a hilly country and over bad roads, we reached ' Bar- 
num's' at eleven o'clock to-night. We were much 
fatigued and wanted to go to bed ; but Barnum, who 
is <i great friend of Judge Story, and knew him when 



FROM NEW YORK TO WASHINGTON. 207 

he (Barnum) kept the Exchange Coffee House in Bos- 
ton, would keep us up for canvas-backs and a bottle 
of capital wine. We sat talking over these delicacies 
till near one o'clock. 

" February 12. — We left Baltimore at nine o'clock 
in the morning, and reached Washington about three 
in the afternoon. At the recommendation of Mr. 
Cheves, I accompanied him to Miss Hyer's on Capi- 
tol Hill, where I found a delightful party of gentle- 
men, consisting of Thomas Addis Emmet and David 
B. Ogden, of New York ; Eufus G. Amory, of Boston ; 
Captain Stockton, of the navy ; Captain Zantzinger, 
of the army ; and, last and least, so far as bodily pres- 
ence goes, my old travelling companion, Mr. John 
Knapp. I suppose it was only because he had re- 
tained Mr. Emmet that he dared to come to the same 
table with Captain Stockton, the defendant in the 
' Marianna Flora ' case, whom he is bound to make out 
a fierce and terrible fellow indeed. I called this 
evening upon Mr. Webster, and through his hands 
received a letter from home. He was not in himself ; 
but I spent a pleasant hour with Mrs. Webster and 
Mrs. Blake." 

I had come to Washington at an interesting time. 
John Quincy Adams, perhaps the best-trained execu- 
tive officer this country has ever possessed, occupied 
the Presidential chair. Henry Clay was Secretary of 
State, — an office he should never have accepted, as 
the charge of corrupt bargaining with the man whom 
he had made President was sure to be made. Shortly 
after the inauguration, had been heard the first threat- 



208 FIGUKES OF THE PAST. 

enings of the conflict which thirty- four years later 
was to deluge the country with blood. During the 
previous May, Governor Troup, of Georgia, had ad- 
dressed a message to his legislature complaining of 
" officious and impertinent intermeddlings with our 
domestic concerns," and closing with an exhortation 
to " step forth, and, having exhausted the argument, 
to stand by your arms." A combination of brilliant, 
if unscrupulous, political leaders, about which a new 
party was to crystallize, had opened its batteries upon 
the administration and was thundering forth the 
grossest charges. The situation must be remembered 
in order to understand such notices of public and 
social life at Washington as my journals may enable 
me to give. 






VISITS TO JOHN KANDOLPH. 



WILL begin my account of Washington with 
■■■ some notices of the remarkable man whom of all 
others I most desired to see. This was John Kan- 
dolph, a good friend and correspondent of my father's, 
though two men more utterly dissimilar in tempera- 
ment and opinions can scarcely be imagined. I shall 
first give some report of the part he took in the pri- 
vate conversations to which I was admitted, and 
afterward describe two memorable occasions when I 
heard him in the Senate. 

I left a card with a letter from my father at " Daw- 
son's," on Capitol Hill, the lodgings of Mr. Eandolph, 
soon after my arrival. With great promptness, he 
sent me a note, in which he alluded to the trying 
political scenes through which he had passed with 
my father, and declared the " sentiments of great 
esteem and regard " which he cherished toward him. 
Describing himself as " an old and very infirm man," 
he begged me to waive ceremony, and visit him either 
before the meeting of the Senate or between its ad- 
journment and eight o'clock in the evening, which 
hour, he was careful to mention, was his bedtime. 

About ten the next morning I called upon Mr. 

14 



210 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Randolph, and was admitted to Lis bedchamber. He 
was sitting in flannel dressing-gown and slippers, look- 
ing very thin, but with a strange fire in his swarthy 
face. He seemed more like a spiritual presence than 
a man adequately clothed in flesh and blood. His 
voice was high but very agreeable, having nothing of 
the shrillness which I heard at the great race, and 
afterwards in debate. He received me with crpeat 

o 

cordiality, and began to talk of his friendship for 
my father, and of the kindness he had done him in 
acting as guardian for his nephew, Tudor Eandolph, 
when the young man was an undergraduate at Cam- 
bridge. He alluded to the death of this son (for so 
he was accustomed to speak of him) with deep emo- 
tion. He had died more than ten vears before, at 
Cheltenham, in England, having been compelled to 
leave college through failing health. " I loved him. 
He was my heir, sir; he was the last of the Ran- 
dolphs. He would have done credit to a name 
which now dies with me." He then spoke of his 
it to the grave of his nephew in England, and of 
his disgust at a monument which he had ordered and 
paid for. ■ Sir, it was poor and inappropriate ; but 
then [in a tone of the bitterest grief] they never 
thought I should see it. Ah ! they never thought I 
should see it." Abruptly leaving this painful sub- 
ject, Randolph suddenly inquired, "Do you know 

Mrs. , of Boston?' ^.arcely waiting for my 

affirmative reply, he launched forth into an eulogium 
upon this lady, contrasting her with the fashionable 
ladies of Washington, toward whom he was by no 



VISITS TO JOHN - RANDOLPH. 211 

means complimentary. He enlarged with great mi- 
nuteness upon Mrs. 's excellent taste in dress, 

which he pronounced the elegance of perfect sim- 
plicity. There was one jewel which she had worn 
in her turban (then a fashionable feminine head- 
dress) that was placed with consummate skill, and 
the effect was dazzling. He had found her conver- 
sation intellectual and full of point. ""What a con- 
trast," he said, " to the vapid talk of the fashionable 
society at Washington ! What a contrast to their 
tasteless dresses, bestuck with tawdrv ornament- 
Eandolph expressed himself admirably and with much 
fervor ; but what he said about this lady I can com- 
pare only to the rhapsody of a lover. 

By introducing the subject of England, I set Mr. 
Eandolph off upon a new line of enthusiasm. He 
never felt so much at home as when there. He be- 
longed to the Church of England, not to the Protes- 
tant Episcopal Church of America. As for London, 
he found he knew it better from study of the map 
than many persons who were its citizen He spoke 
of Shakespeare with great admiration, saying that 
he had visited many places only because this poet 
had chosen to immortalize them. Among them was 
Shrewsbury, of which he gave a graphic account, 
quoting largely from the play of " Henry IT.," and, 
in conclusion, reciting with great animation the fine 
description of the arrival of the news "that young 
Harry Percy's spur was cold." He spoke of modern 
poets, and of the genius of Byron, whose character 
he detested. " Let me tell you, sir, that Don Juan 



214 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

folly it would be to quote the classics to an average 
American audience ! I know of only three books with 
which all decently educated Americans are familiar. 
These are the Bible, Shakespeare, and Milton. Now 
I want you to notice a fine passage from Burke, 
which I will repeat, and you will find that he has 
used thought or language from these three books in 
its construction." Mr. Kandolph then recited the 
following passage from the author he had named : — 

"Old religious factions are volcanoes burnt out. 
On the lava and ashes and squalid scoriae of old 
eruptions grow the peaceful olive, the cheering vine, 
and the sustaining corn. Such was the first, such 
the second condition of Vesuvius. But when a new 
fire bursts out a face of desolation comes on, not to 
be rectified in ages. Therefore, when men come 
before us and rise up like an exhalation from the 
ground, they come in a questionable shape, and we 
must exorcise them and try whether their intents be 
wicked or charitable; whether they bring airs from 
heaven or blasts from hell." 

I said that I did not remember this passage, and 
asked where I could find it. "Go to the Congres- 
sional IMEl y," was Mr. ^Randolph's reply, "look in 
the third alcove, on the right-hand side, third shelf 
from floor, fifth volume on the shelf, page 336, about 
half-way down." I made a memorandum of the di- 
rection, went to the library, and found the passage 
exactly where he had placed it. [Having lost the 
original memorandum, I have given the page from 
my own copy of Burke, which may or may not cor* 



VISITS TO JOHN RANDOLPH. 215 

respond with that in the library ; but Mr. Eandolph's 
direction was just as explicit as I have written it.] 
Of course, such a feat of memory might have been 
an accident or a trick. In Mr. Eandolph's case I am 
convinced it was neither. No one could have heard 
him in debate or conversation without being im- 
pressed with the tenacious clutch of his memory 
upon all that had come within its range. A fluent 
talker without abundant stores to draw upon soon 
betrays himself. Others may have had as great a 
capital; but this man's wealth was, so to speak, all 
on deposit, and he could command it in an instant. 

Mr. Eandolph spoke of the Waverley Novels, and 
declared Scott to be a mere romancer, who drew men 
as we should like to see them, but by no means as 
they are. " Fielding, on the contrary, holds the 
mirror up to nature; his characters are flesh and 
blood. There are Blifil and Black George types of 
character repeated in every age." A week or two 
after this, Mr. Eandolph's remarks were vividly re- 
called to me by the use he made of these fictitious 
personages in the Senate of the United States. In 
one of his outbursts of indignation, he called the 
union of the President and Henry Clay "the coa- 
lition of Blifil and Black George ; the combination, 
unheard of till now, of the Puritan and the blackleg." 
According to the ruling sentiment at Washington, 
there was but one result which could follow such 
language as this. Mr. Eandolph and Mr. Clay must 
exchange shots, and so they did; Mr. Clay's ball 
cutting Mr. Eandolph's coat near the hip, and Mr. 



216 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Randolph's ball burying itself in a stump in the rear 
of Mr. Clay. On the second round Randolph re- 
ceived the shot of his antagonist, which was happily 
without effect, and then, raising his pistol, fired into 
the air. " You owe me a coat, Mr. Clay," said he, ad- 
vancing and holding out his hand. " I am glad the 
debt is no greater," was the reply. And so ended an 
affair which Mr. Benton places among " the highest- 
toned duels " that he ever witnessed. 

I spoke of the death of Mr. Gaillard, of South 
Carolina, and of the eulogium of his colleague, Mr. 
Hayne, on announcing it to the Senate. " Gaillard 
was our oldest senator," said Mr. Randolph, " and is 
greatly to be pitied, — to be pitied, not because he 
died, but because he died in this place. I have been 
ill here and have feared death ; feared it because I 
would not die in Washington, be eulogized by men 
I despise, and buried in the Congressional Burying- 

ground. The idea of lying by the side of . Ah, 

that adds a new horror to death ! I have done what 
I could to guard against this calamity by directions 
to my executors ; but who knows what may happen ? " 
When I rose to take leave of Mr. Randolph, after a 
long and most agreeable visit, he shook my hand very 
cordially and said, "As the son of a valued friend 
of mine, it has given me great pleasure to talk with 
you. I mean to talk to you, for I have given you 
no chance to say five words this evening." 

As I have mentioned the death of Mr. Gaillard, I 
will close with a word about his funeral, which I fear 
I attended in no better character than that of a sight- 



VISITS TO JOHN RANDOLPH. 217 

seer. It was held in the Senate Chamber ; but ex- 
cept the members of a committee, who, having the 
arrangements in charge, attended officially, there were 
neither mourners nor senators. Dr. Staughton, the 
chaplain of the Senate, assisted by Mr. Post, who held 
that office in the House, performed the service. They 
wore long white scarfs, which also decorated the com- 
mittee, as well as the doctor of the deceased, who, 
contrary to the rulings of medical etiquette, was 
among the few stragglers who looked in upon the 
ceremony. I have never seen the color white used 
as mourning upon any other occasion, and am at a 
loss to explain its significance. The chilly indiffer- 
ence with which these last services over the oldest 
senator of the nation were regarded struck me very 
painfully. They had given Congressmen a holiday, 
and that was enough. But the indifference of the 
Senate Chamber was, at least, better than the bur- 
lesque of the streets ; for this is the term my journal 
applies to the funeral procession which it describes. 
This consisted of some sixty hacks, in every stage of 
shabbiness and dilapidation. They carried no pas- 
sengers ; but the hats of the drivers were bound with 
broad bands of snowy whiteness, which descended 
half-way down their variously colored backs. A thick 
fog of the most depressing sort filled the atmosphere 
as this wretched pageantry escorted the mortal part 
of poor Mr. Gaillard to the congressional sepulchre. 
Truly, John Randolph's feelings about the mortuary 
rites of Washington were not to be wondered at. 
" Leur luxe est affreux" shuddered Talleyrand, in ref- 



218 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

erence to the taste of that generation of our country- 
men with which he was acquainted. He would have 
had no occasion to use a less vigorous adjective in 
contemplating the jpompe funebre of an American 
senator in the year 1826. 



KANDOLPH IN THE SENATE. 



T HAD two opportunities of listening to Mr. Kan- 
■*■ dolph in the Senate, and was completely fasci- 
nated by his extraordinary gifts as a talker; for it 
was not oratory (though at times he would produce 
great oratorical effects) so much as elevated conver- 
sation that he poured forth. His speeches were 
charming or provoking, according to the point of view 
of the listener. To a senator anxious to expedite the 
public business, or to hurry through the bill he had 
in charge, Eandolph's harangues upon all sorts of 
irrelevant subjects must have been very annoying ; 
but to one who was not troubled by such responsi- 
bilities they were a delightful entertainment. There 
was no effort about the speeches. They were given 
with absolute ease, the speaker constantly changing 
his position, turning from side to side, and at times 
leaning against the rail which enclosed the senatorial 
chairs. His dress was a blue riding-coat with buck- 
skin breeches ; for he always rode to the Senate, fol- 
lowed by his black servant, both master and man 
being finely mounted. His voice was silvery in its 
tones, becoming unpleasantly shrill only when con- 
veying direct invective. Four fifths of what he said 



220 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

had the slenderest possible connection with the sub- 
ject which had called him up; but, so far as the 
chance visitor was concerned, this variety only added 
a charm to the entertainme.uk 

On the 14th of February, 1826, the introduction of 
a bill for surveying a portion of Florida with a view 
to a canal route brought Mr. Eandolph to his feet. 
This project was favored by the other representatives 
of the South, and it was easy to see how provoked 
and embarrassed they felt by opposition in a quarter 
so unexpected. But Eandolph, who had always 
strenuously denied the power of Congress to make 
internal improvements in the States, would not will- 
ingly concede it in the case of the Territories. He 
could not find it written in the bond that the money 
of the people should be poured out for local improve- 
ments anywhere. 

Johnston, of Louisiana, put in a reply, in which he 
used Mr. Randolph as a Southern ally with great 
tenderness, but intimated that, as Cuba commanded 
the key to the Gulf of Mexico, its possession by a 
first-class naval power would be highly injurious to 
Southern interests. The canal would be in some sort 
a protection against this dire possibility. 

" If all constitutional restraints are to be pushed 
aside, let us take Cuba and done with it ! " said Ean- 
dolph, in reply. Johnston's special pleading was 
dubbed an argumentum ah inconveniently and he was 
urged to consider the consequences (the word was 
uttered with significant emphasis) which might en- 
sue. Here Eandolph paused and looked his fellow 



RANDOLPH IN THE SENATE. 22] 

Southerners well over. Could they not see that, by 
taking this bait of internal improvements to strengthen 
their peculiar institution of slavery, they opened the 
way for the General Government to interfere to its 
disadvantage ? The words were unspoken, but the 
look conveyed their meaning with perfect clearness 
He concluded in a strain of the bitterest irony : " Bu\ 
what care we for consequences ? Only the timid anc 
the purblind look to consequences ! No, sir ; you, 
gallant statesman, mounted on his Eosinante anc 
fairly in the lists, looks to no consequence — [a pause ' 
except to Ms own consequence ! " 

The sarcasm provoked no angry retort from Hayne, 
of South Carolina, who now entered the debate with 
the grace and forbearance of a polished gentleman. 
He believed in drawing a distinction between state 
and territory, and took occasion to say that South 
Carolina had spent nearly two millions in making 
her own canals and roads. The Territories resembled 
the District of Columbia, over which no one doubted 
that the authority of Congress was paramount. 

Mr. Eandolph replied by holding up a copy of the 
Constitution, in a somewhat theatrical style, and de- 
claring that it was like the Bible, which his friends 
found useful for preserving their receipts and deeds, 
but which they never opened. He disposed of the 
comparison to the District of Columbia very effectu- 
ally, showing that the omnipotent sovereign author- 
ity that Congress might there exercise was widely 
different from the power to make needful regulations 
which was conceded over the Territories. The authors 



222 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

of the Constitution, he said, never suspected how 
their political machine would work ; and, after point- 
ing out their misapprehensions in this particular, he 
disposed of these worthies by exclaiming, with a 
superb wave of the hand, "And such is political 
foresight ! " 

Interesting as was Mr. Eandolph's part in this 
debate on the canal question, my friends assured me 
that I had not yet heard him at his best, or worst. 
But it was my good fortune to be present in the Sen- 
ate some two weeks afterward, when he gave what 
was universally allowed to be one of the most char- 
acteristic speeches he ever made. This was in refer- 
ence to the Panama Mission, an absorbing topic of 
public interest and one which created on both sides 
feelings as intense as have ever been shown in our 
national legislature. The condition of certain South 
American states had recently been changed from that 
of subject colonies to independent republics, and the 
project was formed of assembling on the Isthmus of 
Panama a congress, at which each of them should be 
represented, to deliberate upon subjects common to 
all. The United States were asked to take a leading 
part in this assembly, and the invitation had been 
accepted, and plenipotentiaries appointed by the Ex- 
ecutive. The Northern States warmly approved this 
course, which seemed to be in the line of what should 
be the national sentiment. The monarchies of Europe 
had formed a "Holy Alliance" to crush liberty in 
the Eastern Hemisphere. What could be more suit- 
able than for the republics of the West to unite in a 



RANDOLPH IN THE SENATE. 223 

much holier union to maintain it? By the South 
this interrogation was met by the cry that a fearful 
crisis was at hand ; and while some of its more as- 
tute representatives confined their scruples to ques- 
tions of constitutional law and national policy, John 
Eandolph and the hotter spirits blurted out the real 
objection to the scheme. The South would never 
consult with nations who had put the black man on 
an equality with the white, and, horror upon horrors ! 
were known to have mulatto generals in command of 
their armies. From this opposition arose the party 
which finally placed Jackson in the presidential chair ; 
a party whose stock in trade at this time consisted of 
bitter vituperation of the administration, and at the 
head of which Eandolph took his natural place. John 
Quincy Adams — to his lasting honor be it said — re- 
fused to remove from high offices men who had joined 
a party which imputed to his administration all that 
was corrupt and base. They had a right, he declared, 
to support such men and measures as they saw fit; 
and he would never punish a man for any criticism 
upon his own political acts, however offensively it 
was conveyed. The debate in the Senate upon the 
proposition to send ministers to the congress at 
Panama had been held with closed doors. This was 
the custom when the appointments of the Executive 
were considered, and consequently there was no au- 
dience for the stirring appeals which rumor attributed 
to Eandolph. But the fiery Southron had no notion 
of confining a vehement expression of his feelings to 
a petty senatorial group. He must address a larger 



224 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

assembly, and he saw how to make the opportunity. 
On the 1st of March he suddenly sprung a resolution 
upon the Senate which called upon the Executive to 
communicate information concerning the views of the 
South American republics relative to the emancipa- 
tion of slaves. The demand was, of course, absurd, 
as the President could possess no information upon 
the subject that was not open to any inquirer ; but 
it served the purpose of abolishing the secret session, 
and admitting the public to hear Mr. Eandolph's 
views about the Panama Mission and about a great 
many other things besides. 

He began with sarcasm. It was well known that 
the President of the United States meant to send 
ministers to the congress that was to assemble at 
Panama. He fervently hoped that these ministers 
would labor under none of the odious and exploded 
prejudices which revolted the over- fastidious Southern 
gentleman and repelled him from associating on terms 
of equality with persons of African descent. He 
hoped that the ministers who had been appointed 
were prepared to sit down humbly with the native 
African, the mixed breeds, and the Indian, and to 
take no offence at the motley mixture. General Boli- 
var, whom somebody had called " the South American 
Washington," was then handled without gloves. " I 
remember, sir," said Mr. Eandolph, M that when the 
old Earl of Bedford was condoled with by a hypocrite 
on the murder of his son, Lord Eussell, he indignantly 
replied that he would not exchange his dead son for 
the living son of any man on earth. So I would not 



KANDOLPH IN THE SENATE. 225 

gire our dead Washington for any living Washington, 
or (whatever may be the blessings reserved for man- 
kind in the womb of time) for any Washington who 
is likely to live in your time, Mr. President, or in 
mine." After pouring out his usual wealth of illus- 
tration and miscellaneous knowledge, Mr. Eandolph 
took up Cuba, from which island he asserted that the 
whole country on the Gulf of Mexico could be in- 
vaded with row-boats. If other states were to take 
possession of this island, the genius of universal 
emancipation would proclaim its anathema against 
the white population ; and then what would be the 
consequence to the Southern States ? " This is one of 
those cases," he exclaimed, " in which the suggestion 
of instinct — the instinct of self-preservation — was 
worth all the logic in the world. It is one of those 
cases in which our passions instruct our reason ! " 

But Mr. Randolph's great effort (if I may so call a 
performance which to him was evidently no effort at 
all) was reserved for the next day. He announced 
that he should ask for the consideration of his reso- 
lution immediately upon the meeting of the Senate, 
and that meant that another speech would be forth- 
coming. I was early upon the spot, and for two 
hours held my attention fixed by his various and 
fluent improvisations, his cutting irony, his terribly 
sincere, although absolutely undeserved denuncia- 
tions. His memory and imagination seemed inex- 
haustible. He would take a subject (almost any 
which happened to get in his way), turn and twist it 

about, display it in some fantastic light, and then, 

15 



226 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

with scorn, push it aside. That famous dictum of 
the Declaration of Independence concerning the 
equality of men, which thirty years after Eufus 
Choate styled " a glittering generality," Eandolph 
pilloried as " an idle fanfarronade." The pernicious 
falsehoods contained in these general expressions were 
in a certain sense true, and so were especially mis- 
leading. He compared Mr. Jefferson's statement to 
that of a person who should say that the soil of Scot- 
land was as rich as that of Kentucky, because there 
was no difference in the superficial contents of the 
acre. 

During a pause in the discourse Hayne rose, and 
urged the speaker to postpone his call upon the Ex- 
ecutive, at the same time complimenting him warmly 
upon his speech. 

Taking up the word, Eandolph declared that he 
could make no regular speech. Not that this was to 
be regretted ; for, like many other regular things, regu- 
lar speeches were apt to be exceedingly dull. The 
general effect of such speeches was a want of any 
effect whatsoever. What he did was to imitate an 
Italian improvisatore, taking up subjects that he had 
well thought out. He considered that the world had 
been greatly injured by parliamentary eloquence, 
which was no qualification for government. Fox, to 
be sure, was a statesman, as well as a debater ; but the 
dialectics of Pitt had been the curse of England. He 
was admirably qualified for a professor of rhetoric, 
and might have held that chair at Cambridge in Old 
or New England (a thrust at Mr. Adams, who had 



RANDOLPH IN THE SENATE. 227 

been professor of this art in Harvard College) ; but 
as a statesman he was a tyro and his great measures 
all failed. 

In concluding, Eandolph told a story of some wise- 
acre who was sent to search the vaults of the Parlia- 
ment House at the time of the Gunpowder Plot. 
This mythical personage reported that he found fifty 
barrels of powder, and had removed twenty-five of 
them and hoped that the rest would do no harm. 
"The step you are about to take," exclaimed the 
speaker, the characteristic outstretched forefinger 
pointing the emphasis, " applies the match to the 
powder; and, be there twenty-five barrels or fifty 
barrels, there is enough to blow, not the first of the 
Stuarts, but the last of another dynasty sky-high, 
sir ! Yes, sir, sky-high ! " 

And sky-high rose the voice of Mr. Eandolph, as 
if to follow Mr. Adams in his aerial flight. There 
was no savor of the ridiculous in this passionate 
climax. The speaker's thorough -going sincerity pre- 
vented such a suggestion. The old saying that lan- 
guage was given to man to conceal his thoughts has 
a percentage of truth in it. Most men are conscious 
of selecting and modifying the products of the mind, 
with a view to their suitable presentation. The in- 
terest of Kandolph's speeches was that he simply 
exposed his intellect and let you see it at work. It 
was like catching Webster or some other great orator 
in his library and looking over the rough notes he 
had rejected. There one might find figures of rhetoric 
a little too showy for good taste ; blunt expressions 



228 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

of opinion which had been softened and draped in 
ambiguous phrases. It is possible that such a sur- 
vey might increase our admiration for the artist, at 
the expense of our respect for the man. But after 
hearing Kandolph speak or converse, the feeling was 
that you had come in contact with the essential per- 
sonality of this Virginian Hotspur, and that there 
was much there which justified the affection that 
his friends felt for him. 

A gentleman whom I met in Washington had re- 
turned with Randolph to his plantation after a ses- 
sion of Congress, and testified to me of the affection 
with which he was regarded by his slaves. Men and 
women rushed toward him, seized him by the hand 
with perfect familiarity, and burst into tears of de- 
light at his presence among them. His conduct to 
these humble dependants was like that of a most 
affectionate father among his children, and it is well 
known that, when he could no longer protect them, 
he emancipated them by will and provided for their 
support in a free State. 

The time has not yet come to estimate with impar- 
tiality the class of Southern gentlemen to which Ran- 
dolph belonged. Many of them were men of great 
ability and singular fascination of manner. Once 
accept their premises (and these premises were to 
them as the axioms of mathematics), and they are 
knightly figures fighting upon that side of the irre- 
pressible conflict which protected their families and 
the civilization, such as it was, which had produced 
themselves and the high-spirited caste into which 



RANDOLPH IN THE SENATE. 229 

they were born. The incendiarism which would 
light the torch of servile insurrection and plunge 
their fair possessions into barbarism seemed to them 
far worse than that which fired warehouses and dwell- 
ings, which a few months of labor might replace. It 
is unnecessary here to enlarge upon their errors or 
delusions, which every school-boy now deems himself 
able to expose. Of Mr. Eandolph I saw too little, 
and I look with sincere regret upon this kind note 
from him, interleaved with my journal and written 
the day I left Washington. It bids me come and 
dine with him at " a confectioner's shop near the 
Seven Buildings." There I should have met a small 
circle of his friends, with the consequence of much 
satisfaction to myself at the time, and possibly to the 
readers of this paper half a century later. 



COMMODOKE STOCKTOK 



PHE gentlemen whom I met at Miss Hyer's 
A boardiDg-house were for the most part consid- 
erably older than myself, and, I became really inti- 
mate with only one of them. To Lieutenant Stockton 

— or, as he was commonly called, Captain Stockton 

— there was much to unite me. A few years my 
senior, he was a lifetime before me in experience. 
Our fathers had fought together in the thinning ranks 
of Federalism, and had imbued their sons with the 
sentiment that it was honor enough to perish with 
that failing cause, and that no future party could so 
claim the allegiance of intelligent gentlemen. In 
Captain Stockton himself there centred elements of 
romance which are seldom possible to our prosaic 
modern life. His cruises about the world were in 
the exciting times of war and piracy, and he had 
penetrated a part of Africa where no white man had 
ever set foot. Of hairbreadth 'scapes he had had a 
generous allowance. He had fought duels when the 
sentiment of his profession called for this test of 
personal valor ; and, with a nobler courage, he had 
thrown the cat-o'-nine-tails into the sea, declaring 
that the lash was not necessary to govern men who 
were sailing under a competent commander. 



COMMODORE STOCKTON. 231 

I became very well acquainted with Stockton. 
We took long rambles together about Washington ; 
and, after my return from its evening festivities, 
we would sit long into the night, gently sipping a 
medicine which the doctors of the capital thought 
destructive of the influenza germs which were lying 
in wait for the unwary. Of course, I am fitting their 
opinions to a modern phrase; for they knew nothing 
about the germ theory in those days, but fought dis- 
ease with such antidotes as observation commended. 
Not knowing the Latin name under which their 
prescription may figure in the pharmacopoeia, I am 
obliged to give it the bald English translation of 
whiskey punch. The hour was, of all the twenty- 
four, best adapted to confidences, and it is possible 
that the medicine contributed a little to the easy 
flow of the narratives. Had Sindbad the Sailor been 
a man of unimpeachable veracity, I am willing to 
allow that those who listened to the story of his 
voyages, as it fell from his own lips, might have 
been more astonished and interested than was the 
companion of Captain Stockton ; but with this nota- 
ble exception, surely no mariner of thirty ever had 
adventures more remarkable, or told them more mod- 
estly and agreeably. 

I remember the fine spirit with which Stockton 
gave the story of the expected engagement with the 
British ship "Plantagenet." "This was just off the 
harbor of New York," he said. "We had been 
cruising about the seas for months, and were spoiling 
for a fight. The ' Plantagenet ' was to windward, 



232 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

and we could not go to her ; but Eodgers backed his 
topsails and fired a gun as a signal to her to come 
down. Our guns were then shotted and our decks 
cleared for action. The Britisher had a heavier 
weight of metal than we, and Eodgers's plan was to 
take her by boarding. Some of us had to go to the 
maintop, armed with rifles and a couple of howitzers. 
Up aloft I was in command ; below every man was 
at his post ; and then — we waited and waited. 
Eodgers kept walking up and down the deck, and 
the creak of his boots was the only sound that broke 
the silence. Suddenly the Commodore called out to 
me, ' Mr. Stockton, we expect great things from you 
to-day, sir ! ' I was but a young fellow then, and 
when he said that, I would have got into a gun and 
been shot off, if that would have given us the victory. 
What Shakespeare says about the interim between 
the acting of a fearful thing and the first motion we 
had reason to understand. The delay was a hideous 
dream, just as he calls it. We waited and waited ; 
but the ' Plantagenet ' would not accept our chal- 
lenge. Well, Eodgers had a British colonel down 
below, whom he had taken out of a prize ; so, when 
he could stand it no longer, he sent down his com- 
pliments and begged him, if he were at leisure, to 
step on deck for a few moments. 'Now, sir,' said 
the Commodore, handing him his glass, * oblige me 
by looking that British man-of-war well over. Does 
she carry more metal than the " President " ? ' 'I 
should say she did, sir.' ' Well, sir, I 've challenged 
her, and she refuses. What do you say to that ? ' 



COMMODORE STOCKTON. 233 

* I don't know what to say to it, sir; but this I do 
know, that if I ever get to England I will take no 
rest till the commander of that vessel is hanging at 
his own yard-arm.' Well, the end of it was that the 
commander of the * Plantagenet ' was tried in Eng- 
land ; but got off on the ground that his crew were 
in such a state of mutiny that he could not give 
battle." 

I can give only a few salient points from narrations 
which deserved much fuller reporting. But what no 
reporting can give is the joyous, patriotic temper with 
which the gallant officer gave his spirited accounts 
of the humbling of the British flag upon the ocean 
during the war which began in 1812. His adven- 
tures on board the " Guerriere " and the u Spitfire," 
and the capture of the Algerine pirates, given as I 
heard them, would make the fortune of a star lec- 
turer ; but of these neither my notes nor my memory 
permit me to furnish reliable fragments. 

But Stockton's most wonderful feat was his journey 
into an unknown portion of Africa, in the interest of 
the scheme of colonization, which finally resulted in 
the settlement of Liberia. His route lay through 
swamps and jungles which no white man had ever 
passed ; and the end of the expedition placed him in 
the power of savages who were inflamed against him 
as an enemy to their business of supplying victims 
for the slave-trade. He was surrounded by five 
hundred or more negroes, breathing vengeance and 
threatening the instant extermination of his small 
party. " I thought I would get in a speech," said 



234 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Stockton, " before I went down. I had brought along 
an interpreter, who translated every sentence while I 
was thinking over the next. I was speaking for my 
life, and I think I was eloquent ; but I used only one 
gesture. My hand held a pistol at full cock, pointed 
at the head of the chief. I told them that upon the 
first attempt at violence that man should drop, and 
that the Almighty would visit a worse punishment 
upon the rest of them, if they dared to molest a 
stranger who had come to do them good." The end 
of it was that the savages quailed at the threat, and 
became perfectly submissive. Stockton thought that 
moral cowardice was not peculiar to the civilized 
races. It might be excited in savages, if one hap- 
pened to hit upon an appeal which could reach them. 
However this may be, it is certain that the effect of 
the speech did not cease when the chief was no longer 
under fire. The pledges then made were faithfully 
carried out, and the adventurous mission accomplished 
its purposes. 

Something more than a hundred years ago the 
question whether duelling was consistent with moral 
duty was raised in the presence of Dr. Johnson. Old 
General Oglethorpe, Boswell tells us, fired up at the 
doubt implied in this inquiry. " Undoubtedly," said 
he, "a man has a right to defend his honor." Al- 
though the great Christian moralist was indisposed 
to settle the question in this off-hand way, he ad- 
mitted that the practice might be justified in the 
then existing state of public opinion. He reasoned 
that it was never unlawful to fight in self-defence ; 



COMMODORE STOCKTON. 235 

and, so long as the notion prevailed that an affront 
was a serious injury and a man lost social standing 
by putting up with it, he might be permitted to chal- 
lenge the aggressor. In 1826 the dominant opinion 
of Washington was in accord with that of Dr. John- 
son. I have already mentioned that the Secretary of 
State, charged with the interests of a mighty nation, 
felt obliged to peril his own life and to risk taking 
that of another man because foolish words had been 
spoken in debate. It was admitted, indeed, that 
duelling was an evil ; and so was war an evil ; but 
as the higher civilizations could not be maintained 
without recourse to arms, so the unsullied character 
of a gentleman — the priceless outcome of these civ- 
ilizations — could not be preserved unless he was 
ready to hazard life in its defence. It would not be 
difficult to point out the defect in an analogy which 
was specious enough to justify a temporary phase of 
human opinion ; and this opinion, strong as it was 
in the civil circles of the capital, was held with ten- 
fold tenacity in the army and navy. To say, then, 
that Stockton in his younger days was a duellist 
amounts to little more than to declare that Wash- 
ington was a slaveholder. In these times a knight- 
errant would be quickly dismounted and driven to 
the House of Correction in the prisoners' van. Place 
him where he belongs, and he stands out as the type 
of a hero. A gallant and chivalrous officer of the 
American navy, when this century was in its teens, 
was bound to risk his life in a duel when the honor 
of his profession demanded it. His ideas of duty in 



236 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

such a matter were very different from ours ; but, 
such as they were, we can admire the pluck and con- 
sistency with which a man like Stockton accepted 
the course they indicated. The entire conscientious- 
ness of the man shone through the accounts he gave 
me of his adventures upon the field of honor, and 
neither of us were troubled by scruples which might 
have presented themselves when the blood moved 
less rapidly and a more sober generation was con- 
ducting the world. 

An insult to the gentlemen of the American navy, 
written in a book that was seen by everybody, was 
shown to Stockton, when his ship, the " Erie," arrived 
in the Bay of Naples. It bore the signature of a 
British officer then in that port; and the young 
Lieutenant, without more ado, declared that the 
fellow should eat his words or fight him. A friend 
properly accredited was despatched to the British 
ship, and, after a good deal of demur, the author of 
the outrage was got ashore and consented to fight 
at long range. Their pistols were discharged at the 
proper signal, and Stockton's ball struck his adver- 
sary in the leg, whereupon the fellow bellowed out : 
u You have hit me. Are you satisfied now ?" "No," 
said Stockton ; " I am not satisfied until you write 
me an apology for the language you have used." 
Whereupon his fellow Britons declared that their 
man, having given satisfaction, was exempt from 
further proceedings. He had vindicated his honor, 
and that was enough. The American party by no 
means accepted this decision, and said several un- 



COMMODORE STOCKTON. 237 

pleasant things about the cowardice which prompted 
this miserable subterfuge. 

I now come to the most marvellous duelling adven- 
ture in which Stockton was engaged ; and this I shall 
give as I heard the story told by its hero, one day 
after dinner and in the presence of several gentlemen 
who were lingering about the table. Since writing 
out the narrative given below, I have found in the 
Boston City Library an anonymous life of Stockton, 
apparently written for some political purpose and 
published in 1856. The writer gives an account of 
this duel from hearsay and " according to his remem- 
brance." The narrative differs from mine in several 
respects, and omits some striking particulars, which 
I am certain that I heard from the principal actor. 
There must exist materials for an authentic life of 
the brilliant Commodore, and a most interesting book 
it would be. Neither my memory nor my journals 
are infallible; and if any particulars are misstated 
(which I do not believe to be the case), they are 
offered as subject to correction by a responsible biog- 
rapher. 

The scene was at Gibraltar, and there had been a 
previous duel between Stockton and a British officer 
attached to the station, who, however, was not the 
officer from whom the affront to be avenged had 
really come. There had been charges and counter- 
charges, negotiations and criminations, till finally the 
American officer in command put a stop to proceed- 
ings by an order that none of his subordinates should 
go ashore while the ship remained in that port. The 



238 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

lull was only temporary. After a short cruise, the 
" Erie " returned to Gibraltar, and this time the real 
offender was forced by the public opinion of his fel- 
lows to give the Yankee Lieutenant the meeting he 
had demanded. A guaranty was required by Stock- 
ton that the British authorities of the town should 
not be informed of the duel, with a view to ordering 
his arrest ; and a pledge was given that there should 
be no interference. " Under these circumstances," 
said Stockton, "I went ashore without distrust. The 
flag had been grossly insulted by a British officer, 
who was now backed up by his comrades. I was 
the only unmarried officer on board the 'Erie,' and 
my duty was, of course, clear. The governor of the 
fortress, during our previous visit, had announced 
that he would hang any Yankee who came ashore 
for the purpose of fighting ; and although it was 
not probable that he would have dared to carry out 
the threat, he would have been ugly enough, had he 
caught me. It was arranged between our seconds 
that, upon landing, w T e should be conducted to a re- 
tired place, where the duel might come off without 
interference. British honor was pledged to this, and, 
believing it still to be worth something, I was rowed 
ashore, accompanied by my second and the ship's 
doctor." The graphic description of what followed 
must be given in a feeble outline. The Americans 
were conducted to a spot near the top of the rock, 
where they met the opposing party. It then ap- 
peared that no immediate fighting was contemplated, 
for the Englishmen began to enter upon a discussion, 



COMMODORE STOCKTON. 239 

and to raise frivolous objections to the recognized 
code of duelling. Stockton, seeing that all this tended 
to delay, and suspecting treachery, suddenly declared 
that he would waive all rights, and fight at once upon 
whatever terms his opponent chose to exact. After 
such a declaration no retreat was possible. The ground 
was measured, shots were exchanged, and the British 
officer fell wounded. Stockton advanced to inquire 
into the nature of the injury, and then the wretched 
man was shamed into a confession that treachery had 
been practised, and that instant flight was necessary, 
if his opponent would avoid arrest. Upon this the 
Lieutenant started for his boat, running at full speed. 
His way lay through a passage cut out of the rock, 
which gave access to the beach below. Upon turn- 
ing a corner, when about half-way down, he was con- 
fronted by a file of soldiers, drawn up to oppose his 
passage. The officer in command was a pursy little 
fellow, who seemed to enjoy hugely the discomfiture 
of his supposed captive. There stood this merry gen- 
tleman upon a parapet which guarded the road, and 
which was raised a few feet above it. His squad was 
ranged in a line with him, completely cutting off the 
passage. There was not a moment for delay; the 
situation was desperate ; it could be met only by a 
resolve as desperate. The officer was off his guard 
and was chuckling with delight. Now was the in- 
stant for a dash. Now stiffen the sinews, summon 
up the blood, and there was yet a chance for lib- 
erty. Instead of making the surrender which was 
expected, Stockton sprang at this cheerful officer. 



240 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

He grappled with him ; he got his head under his 
arm ; he jumped with him from the parapet, and 
in a moment the two men, clasped together, were 
rolling over and over down the side of the rock. 
Presently the parties separated, the Englishman roll- 
ing one way and the American another. At length 
Stockton managed to stop his dizzying and perilous 
descent, and dropped a number of feet to the beach 
below. Covered with blood and dirt, with his clothes 
nearly stripped from him, he accosted a gentleman 
who was taking his morning ride upon the beach, and 
begged the instant loan of his horse. This request 
the rider not unnaturally declined. Whereupon he 
was seized by the leg and pulled from the saddle. 
His assailant instantly mounted the horse, and, put- 
ting him to his speed, made for the boat. He looked 
up for a moment, and saw the soldiers running about 
in a distracted manner ; most of them tearing down 
the road, to cut him off. Stockton, however, reached 
the boat, gave the order to pull for the frigate, and 
then fainted. He did not recover consciousness until 
he found himself in his berth on board the " Erie." 

These events were related at the persistent request 
of others. They were given modestly, but with great 
spirit. There were at that time living witnesses to 
the escape, and the facts connected with it were well 
known. I have already said that we must regard 
Stockton's duels from the point of view of the pro- 
fession to which he was devoted. The highest officers 
of the navy sanctioned this barbarism as a duty to 
which a brave and honorable man might be called. 



COMMODORE STOCKTON. 241 

Only a few years before my visit to Washington four 
American Commodores left the city on this miserable 
business. Decatur and Barron were the principals ; 
Bainbridge and Elliot acting as seconds. The brave 
and gallant Decatur, the pride of the American navy, 
there met his death. It is not necessary to resort to 
Christian ethics to condemn a practice which has cost 
such valuable lives ; but let us do justice to the high- 
minded men who were victims of an infatuation which 
we have left behind us. 



16 



THE SUPKEME COURT AND THE "MARI- 

ANNA FLORA." 



r ~T*HE day after my arrival at the capital I called 
■*■ upon Judge Story, at the Supreme Court, as he 
had requested me to do. Immediately upon adjourn- 
ment he presented me to the Chief Justice and Judge 
Bushrod Washington, both gentlemen whom I had 
much desired to meet. The first view of Judge Mar- 
shall was not impressive. He struck me as a tall 
man who regretted his height, because he had not the 
knack of carrying it off with ease and dignity. His 
manner was so simple as to be almost rustic; and, 
were it not for the brilliancy of his eyes, he might 
have been taken for a mere political judge instead of 
the recognized expositor of the Constitution. Judge 
Story had already hinted that Marshall would be dis- 
appointing to a stranger, adding that only his asso- 
ciates on the Bench could appreciate his real wisdom 
and greatness. The Chief Justice spoke of his sym- 
pathy with my father in the good cause of Federalism, 
and referred to the venerable sage of Monticello as 
" Tom Jefferson," pronouncing the name with an in- 
terrogative emphasis, which, without compromising 
judicial impartiality, showed that, in the opinion of 
the speaker, the verdict of the competent upon that 



SUPREME COURT AND THE " MARIANNA FLORA." 243 

important personage had not yet been rendered. 
Marshall was held in extraordinary esteem by all 
political parties, and the Virginians were especially 
proud of him. Like all really great men, he never 
troubled himself about dignity and had the simple 
tastes and ready sympathies of a child. He hated 
slavery, but prophesied that it could only cease 
through a social convulsion. He thereby proved him- 
self wiser than most of the enlightened men of his 
time, who confidently looked to economical causes to 
destroy this anomaly. A few days after my intro- 
duction to the Chief Justice, I spoke of him to a gen- 
tleman from Richmond, whom I met at an evening 
party. " People in Washington don't begin to under- 
stand him," said he. "Why, do you know, I have 
met Marshall carrying his dinner through the streets 
in an open basket!" This act of humiliation was 
more impressive to a Southerner than to one of 
Northern birth, and perhaps I did not exhibit the 
astonishment that was expected. But the Virginian 
(whose name I cannot recall, though I can bring the 
man distinctly before me) had a climax in reserve, of 
which he delivered himself with impressive emphasis : 
" Yes, sir ; and I have seen that man walking on his 
hands and knees, with a stravj in his mouth I " This 
was sufficiently removed from the actions usually as- 
sociated with the ermine, and was startling to one 
who could not supply the explanation that would 
have instantly occurred to a Southerner. The game 
of quoits was at that time as universal at the South 
as was croquet a few years ago upon Northern lawns. 



244 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Disputes constantly arose, which required that the 
distances of the quoits from the hub should be accu- 
rately determined, and a straw, which was commonly 
at hand, was the accepted instrument for measuring. 
Judge Marshall, who was a great lover of the game, 
would not shirk any of its duties. Hence the singu- 
lar position in which his fellow-citizen represented 
him. 

Through Judge Washington, the men of my gener- 
ation were brought, as it were, within speaking dis- 
tance of the Father of his Country. He was not to 
us the statuesque, passionless figure which I am told 
that he has since become. Here was a man who had 
called him " Uncle George," had joked with him, and 
plagued him, as young people will plague older rela- 
tives who are responsible for their good conduct. 
For Bushrod Washington was more than the nephew, 
he was almost the adopted son, of his uncle. He 
resided at Mt. Vernon, which he had inherited, as 
the representative of the name, as well as the nearest 
relative, of its former possessor. He struck me as 
being somewhat too small a man for an ideal judge, 
and he took snuff too frequently to be credited with 
those personal austerities which are not unbecoming 
in magistrates. But his manner to me was very kind 
and pleasant. He spoke of his friendship for my 
father, and of the visits he had received from him at 
Mt. Vernon. 

One of these visits was in the spring of 1806 ; and 
although I was in Washington at the time, I was too 
young to remember the circumstances. But, like 



SUPREME COURT AND THE " MARIANNA FLORA." 245 

many events which happen in childhood, and for some 
years after are constantly referred to in the family 
circle, it seems as if I remembered all about it. The 
scene of my father's only ghost story — if so it may 
be called — was laid at Mt. Vernon ; and this alone 
was sufficient to make the occasion memorable to a 
boy. The chamber in which his uncle had died 
was assigned by Judge Washington to his guest; the 
host, as he withdrew, mentioning the rumor that an 
interview with Washington had been granted to some 
of its former occupants. If this were true, my father 
pondered upon the possibility that he might be found 
worthy to behold the glorified spirit of him who was 
so revered by his countrymen. And during the night 
he did see Washington, and this is all I have to sa)' 
about it. If I gave the particulars, I should feel 
bound to give a full explanation of them by Dr. 
Hammond, or some other expert in cerebral illusions ; 
and this would occupy too much space for an episode. 
It may be worth while to say that nothing my father 
saw, or thought he saw, was useful in confirming his 
faith in a spiritual world. His assurance in this 
matter was perfect. He believed that brain action 
(if that is the correct expression) was at times set up 
in us by friends no longer in the flesh, and that his 
own life had been guided by these mysterious influ- 
ences. Shortly before his death, he spoke of reunion 
with those he had loved, as men speak of what they 
know, not as they speak of what they hope or be- 
lieve. There was a custom connected with the hos- 
pitalities of Mt. Vernon in Judge Washington's 



246 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

time which is worth noting, because it would be 
scarcely possible among persons of refinement at the 
present day. Guests of the family were not only 
conducted to the tomb of Washington, but were in- 
vited to pass through its portal, and to touch the 
receptacle of his remains. It stood beside that of 
Mrs. Washington, on a slightly raised platform, other 
members of the family being placed against the sides 
of the sepulchre. When my father visited the place, 
in 1806, the velvet cover of the coffin was hanging 
in tatters, it having been brought to this condition 
by the assaults of relic-hunters. " Care not to strip 
the dead of his sad ornament," sings my classmate, 
Mr. Emerson ; and, surely, of all fetiches with which 
the imagination contrives to associate the august 
spirits of the great, such miserable shreds and patches 
are the most vulgar. But it is time to leave the 
Judges, and pass to a scene in the tribunal over 
which they presided. 

Saturday, the 18th of February, 1826, was an in- 
teresting day for Captain Stockton and his friends. 
The case of the " Marianna Flora " had at length been 
reached by the Supreme Court. Already opposing 
decisions had been pronounced by lower courts, and 
now the highest bench would decide whether Stock- 
ton was justified in the course he had thought it right 
to pursue. The facts of this interesting case, so far 
as they can be gathered from evidence that was 
sometimes conflicting, may be condensed into a nar- 
rative something like this. On the 5th of November, 
1821, the United States schooner "Alligator," under 



SUPREME COURT AND THE " MARIANNA FLORA." 247 

the command of Lieutenant Stockton, encountered 
the "Marianna Flora," a Portuguese vessel, com- 
manded by Captain De Britto, an elderly officer, who 
had passed many years of service. De Britto, sup- 
posing the American schooner to be a pirate or priva- 
teer, from whom an attack was to be apprehended, 
caused his ship to lay to and prepare for action. 
Stockton, on the contrary, observing that the vessel 
carried no colors to show her nationality, but only 
a flag which seemed to be displayed as a signal of 
distress, ordered provisions to be got ready, in case 
they were needed, and directed his course toward the 
stranger. He then went below, to work up his lon- 
gitude, which he thought his neighbor might want. 
A ball which De Britto sent whistling past the " Alli- 
gator" soon dissipated these suppositions; and for 
some time the schooner, although displaying the 
American flag, was raked by shot, which her position 
prevented her from answering. The wind was very 
light, and it was long before Stockton could obtain 
a position from which to make an effective reply to 
the fire that was poured upon him. His guns were 
short pieces of ordnance, called carronades, and were 
useless at a long range. When, at length, the Amer- 
ican was in a position to return the cannonading 
with effect, the Portuguese color was suddenly hoisted 
by the attacking ship. This Stockton did not think 
himself bound to regard ; but proceeded to pour vol- 
ley upon volley into this belligerent stranger, till her 
color came down quite as quickly as it had gone up. 
She had struck her flag to the " Alligator," and was. 



248 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

so the commander considered, his lawful prize. In 
his opinion, De Britto intended to commit an act of 
piracy, and wished to plunder what he supposed to 
be an unarmed merchantman. A prize crew was put 
on board the "Marianna Flora," the sailors of that 
vessel being confined in irons, and the order was 
given to make sail for Boston, for adjudication. Seven 
weeks were consumed in this winter voyage; and 
dreary weeks they must have been to the miserable 
Portuguese mariners, who lay fettered in the hold. 
The case was brought before Judge Davis, of the Dis- 
trict Court; the owners of the "Marianna Flora" 
claiming that Stockton had committed an unlawful 
act and demanding heavy damages. They brought 
evidence which clearly established the fact that no 
wrong was intended on the part of De Britto. He 
had commenced and maintained his fire upon the 
" Alligator " under the conviction that he was repel- 
ling an enemy. To be sure, the American flag had 
been displayed by Stockton; but then any pirate 
might do that, and there was a naval ceremonial of 
an affirming gun, which the " Alligator " was said to 
have omitted. The decision of Judge Davis was in 
favor of the claimants. The act of Stockton in send- 
ing in the vessel, though perfectly conscientious, was 
severe and unnecessary. Damages were awarded to 
the owners of the Portuguese ship for the losses they 
sustained, and to the crew for their seven weeks of 
captivity. 

An appeal was instantly taken, and the case was 
brought before the Circuit Court, Judge Story being 



SUPREME COURT AND THE " MARIANNA FLORA." 249 

upon the bench. The decision of Judge Davis was 
reversed. The capture being lawful, — for this the 
lower court had admitted, — Stockton was justified in 
sending the " Marianna Flora " to the United States 
for adjudication. He might have released the vessel, 
— possibly it might have been commendable to have 
done so ; but he was not hound to grant such release, 
and the whole question of damages was disposed of 
by denying this obligation. So decided Judge Story. 
Would the full Bench confirm that decision, and so 
disperse the cloud which threatened the reputation 
and fortune of Stockton ? The question was one of 
painful interest to the friends of this brave officer, 
and I felt unpleasantly nervous when my travelling 
companion, Mr. John Knapp, began to open the case 
for the Portuguese complainants and to reflect se- 
verely upon the course of the commander of the 
" Alligator." George Blake, the district attorney, re- 
plied for Stockton, and (so says my journal) surprised 
me by a power of speech which I did not suppose he 
possessed. He had not finished when the hour for 
adjournment arrived. Early Monday morning I re- 
paired to the court-room, where I met Mr. Webster 
and Mr. Blake, with their respective wives. "These 
ladies would come to hear their husbands bestow 
their dulness upon the Court," said Mr. Webster to 
me ; " and now you shall take care of them and en- 
tertain them, if we fail to do so." I was, accordingly, 
seated by these ladies, who took such creditable 
interest in the arguments that there was no occasion 
to whisper social gossip for their diversion. Blake's 



250 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

close was even better than his opening; and then 
rose Webster, who proceeded against poor Mr. Knapp 
with the confidence of a giant. " It is the aggressor" 
he said, — and the indignant emphasis he threw upon 
the word was in itself an argument, — " it is the ag- 
gressor who comes before this Court masquerading in 
the character of a plaintiff and asking redress for a 
supposed injury done to himself." And then a pause, 
that the absurdity of the position of his antagonist 
might sink in and be vividly realized. " The capture 
was made in repelling an act of piratical aggression, 
for so Lieutenant Stockton supposed it to be; and 
only a judicial examination could show that it might 
have been otherwise. The suffering party had him- 
self furnished the occasion for any discomfort to 
which he may have been subjected. It was a dam- 
num absque injuria — a damage without a wrong — 
and it is futile to pretend that it was anything else." 
So ran the drift of the argument, which was earnest 
and eloquent and was not concluded till the follow- 
ing day. 

The final appeal for the plaintiffs was given by 
Thomas Addis Emmett, then an old man (he died 
the following year), but full of Irish fire and feeling. 
My journal declares that his brogue, which was very 
evident in the warmer passages, was a marked addi- 
tion to their force and eloquence. Being a fellow- 
boarder with Mr. Emmett, I had much conversation 
with him. He had told me some of the romantic 
incidents of his early manhood, which resulted in his 
long imprisonment in Scotland and had finally ban- 



SUPREME COURT AND THE " MARIANNA FLORA." 251 

ished him from British soil. " I think him the most 
interesting man of his age whom I have ever seen." 
This is how I characterized him in my contemporary 
record, after one of these free talks. What a pity, it 
seemed to me, that he should be on the wrong side ; 
for the right side was, of course, that of my friend, 
Captain Stockton. But Emmett went at his work, 
as I suppose a lawyer should, as if his side was the 
right side, beyond all question. He began by laying 
down the proposition that every ship navigating the 
ocean in time of peace might appropriate to her 
temporary use so much of its waters as she deemed 
necessary for her protection. He drew a lively pic- 
ture of the pirates which infested the seas, and de- 
clared that, if the right to approach in invitum were 
allowed, merchantmen might as well be broken up 
for firewood. The conduct of the " Marianna Flora " 
was justifiable. The first fault was committed by 
the "Alligator," in not following the raising of her 
flag with an affirming gun ; and then in approaching 
the stranger against her consent. After the capture 
the ship's papers should have shown Stockton that 
his prize was an innocent merchantman, — armed, 
indeed, against pirates, but armed for no purposes 
of aggression. In substance this was the amount of 
the plea for the plaintiffs. The wealth of illustra- 
tion by which it was embellished and the earnest 
and hearty rhetoric of the advocate there was no 
phonograph to preserve. 

The opinion of the Court was pronounced by Judge 
Story, some weeks afterward, and may be read in the 



252 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

eleventh volume of " Wheaton's Eeports." It vindi- 
cated Captain Stockton. Mr. Emmett's doctrine of 
non-approach was pronounced novel and unsupported 
by authority. While every vessel had the right to 
use so much of the ocean as was essential to her 
movements, no exclusive right beyond this could be 
recognized. A ship-of-war, like the " Alligator," sail- 
ing under the authority of the government, might 
approach any vessel descried at sea, for the purpose 
of ascertaining her real character. The Court denied 
that the mere fact of approach excused the hostile 
attack of De Britto. He had said that he lay to 
in order to meet a supposed enemy by daylight and 
because he dreaded the peril of a night attack ; but 
all this could not have been known to Stockton, who 
was acting from a humane motive and in the line of 
his duty. He was justified in taking possession of 
the "Marianna Flora," because she attacked him 
without cause or provocation. 

This opinion delighted me at the time; to the 
friends of Stockton it fully vindicated the wisdom of 
the Court and the beneficence of the law which it 
expounded ; but in re-reading it to-day, I find at one 
point a lack of equity which, if the Court was power- 
less to prevent, might at least have been noticed 
with regret. How fared it with those unhappy sail- 
ors who, through no fault of theirs, had made a seven 
weeks' voyage in irons and to whom the District 
Court had mercifully awarded five hundred dollars ? 
Surely, if justice was to be wrought among men, these 
unfortunates had claims upon somebody; but the 



SUPREME COURT AND THE " MARIANNA FLORA." 253 

learned judge remarked that in their case no privilege 
of appeal was allowed, because the sum of five hun- 
dred dollars was insufficient to entitle the parties in 
interest to be heard before the Supreme Bench. A 
mere bagatelle, truly ! Only a fraction of what Croe- 
sus might spend for a single evening of festivity, yet 
possibly as important to those roughly used mariners 
as the larger stakes which opened the courts to the 
capitalists, their employers. It is no disrespect to 
the majesty of the law to mention that it has not yet 
sloughed off all its barbarisms. So long as the pun- 
ishment of a money fine is accepted from the rich 
and the alternative imprisonment is exacted from the 
poor, the equality of all men before the law is but a 
sounding phrase. As for those Portuguese fellows 
fettered in the hold, they ought to have known that 
their sad plight was only a damnum absque injuria ; 
and when they were prevented from following their 
masters to the highest court, they should have con- 
soled themselves with that sage morsel of law Latin, 
Be minimis non curat lex. 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 



I. 



TAB. HOLMES has declared, with all the solemnity 
-■— ' of verse, that, for reasons which to him are good 
and sufficient, he never dares to write as funny as he 
can. Following so excellent a precedent, I will con- 
fess that I do not mean to make this paper on the 
social life in Washington as entertaining as I could. 
For hasty gossip and uncharitable strictures upon in- 
dividuals (such as a young fellow may set down in a 
journal intended for no eyes but his own) are cer- 
tainly amusing ; but their publication, either by the 
writer or his executors, is, as it seems to me, almost 
never justifiable. The mention of the names of ladies, 
even when one has nothing but what is pleasant to 
say of them, is only to be sanctioned by a certain 
unwritten statute of limitations, which, after the 
lapse of half a century, seems to allow a certain dis- 
cretion in this particular. It will, however, be neces- 
sary to make but few reservations in telling what I 
saw in Washington society in 1826. 

And first come the dinners. On Friday, February 
17, 1 find an account of a dinner at Mr. Webster's. 
The occasion was absolutely informal and very pleas- 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 255 

ant. Besides myself, Henry R Storrs, of New York, 
and Eufus Greene Amory, of Boston, were the only 
guests. Webster carved the beef and was in a charm- 
ing humor. He told some good lawyer's stories, and 
gave us a graphic account of the burning of his house 
in Portsmouth, in the winter of 1813. (< Though I 
was in Washington at the time," he said, " I believe 
I know more about the fire than many who were 
actively at work on the spot. Besides, here is Mrs. 
Webster, who was burned out. She will correct me 
if I am wrong." He told us that all he possessed in 
the world was lost, there being no insurance upon 
house or furniture ; but as more than two hundred 
buildings were consumed in the fire, some of them 
belonging to those less able to make a living than 
himself, he felt he had no right to murmur. He was, 
nevertheless, troubled about the loss of his library. 
His books were full of notes and associations, and 
could not be replaced. 

" I think there was something in the house which 
Mr. Webster regretted more than his books," said his 
wife, with an amused expression, which showed her 
remark was not to be taken quite seriously. " There 
was a pipe of wine in the cellar, and I am sure that 
Mr. Webster's philosophy has not yet reconciled him 
to its loss. You see we were young housekeepers in 
those days. It was the first pipe of wine we ever 
had, and the getting it was a great event." 

" Let us be accurate, my dear," said Mr. Webster, 
with one of those pleasant smiles of his which fairly 
lit up the room. " Undoubtedly it was a pipe of wine 



256 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

when we bought it ; but then it had been on tap for 
some time, and our table was not without guests. If 
I had you upon the witness stand, I think I should 
make you confess that your pipe of wine could 
scarcely have been more than half a pipe at the time 
of the fire." 

I suppose that there was nothing said at that din- 
ner so little worth preserving as this trifling family 
jest ; yet the sweet and playful manner of Webster 
has fixed it indelibly upon my memory. That manner 
I cannot give, and it was everything. It somehow 
carried one of those aside confessions of the absolute 
affection and confidence existing between this married 
pair which were so evident to those admitted beneath 
their roof. A coDgenial marriage seems to be essen- 
tial to the best development of a man of genius, and 
this blessing rested upon that household. It was like 
organ-music to hear Webster speak to or of the being 
upon whom his affections reposed, and whom, alas S 
he was so soon to lose. I am sure that those who 
knew the man only when this tenderest relation had 
been terminated by death, never knew him in his 
perfect symmetry. Whatever evil-speakers might 
choose to say about the subsequent career of Daniel 
Webster, he was at that time " whole as the marble, 
founded as the rock." He was on the happiest terms 
with the world, which had crowned him with its 
choicest blessing, and stood forth in all respects as an 
example and a hero among men. 

I will repeat an anecdote which I think that Web- 
ster gave at that dinner, though, as I made no note 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 257 

of it, it is just possible that he told it in my presence 
at some later date. The conversation was running 
upon the importance of doing small things thoroughly 
and with the full measure of one's ability. This 
Webster illustrated by an account of some petty in- 
surance case that was brought to him when a young- 
lawyer in Portsmouth. Only a small amount was 
involved, and a twenty-dollar fee was all that was 
promised. He saw that, to do his clients full justice, 
a journey to Boston, to consult the Law Library, 
would be desirable. He would be out of pocket by 
such an expedition, and for his time he would receive 
no adequate compensation. After a little hesitation, 
he determined to do his very best, cost what it might. 
He accordingly went to Boston, looked up the au- 
thorities, and gained the case. Years after this, 
Webster, then famous, was passing through New 
York. An important insurance case was to be tried 
the day after his arrival, and one of the counsel had 
been suddenly taken ill. Money was no object, and 
Webster was begged to name his terms and conduct 
the case. " I told them," said Mr. Webster, " that it 
was preposterous to expect me to prepare a legal ar- 
gument at a few hours' notice. They insisted, how- 
ever, that I should look at the papers ; and this, after 
some demur, I consented to do. Well, it was my old 
twenty-dollar case over again, and, as I never forget 
anything, I had all the authorities at my fingers' 
ends. The court knew that I had no time to pre- 
pare, and were astonished at the range of my acquire- 
ments. So, you see, I was handsomely paid both in 

17 



258 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

fame and money for that journey to Boston ; and the 
moral is, that good work is rewarded in the end, 
though, to be sure, one's own self-approval should he 
enough." 

I may be pardoned for taking from my journal of 
later date another after-dinner story which I heard 
Mr. Webster tell with great dramatic effect. One of 
the party mentioned that a president of one of the 
Boston banks had that morning redeemed a counter- 
feit bill for fifty dollars, never doubting that his signa- 
ture upon it was genuine. This incident led to a 
discussion of the value of expert testimony in regard 
to writing, the majority of our company holding it in 
little esteem. Mr. Webster then came to the defence 
of this sort of testimony, saying that he had found it 
of much value, although experts were like children 
who saw more than they were able to explain to 
others. " And this reminds me," he said, " of my story 
of the tailor. It was a capital case that was being 
tried, and the tailor's testimony was very important. 
He had been called to prove that he made a certain 
coat for the criminal ; and he swore to the fact stoutly. 
Upon cross-examination he was asked how he knew 
that the coat was his work. ' Why, I know it by my 
stitches, of course.' 'Are your stitches longer than 
those of other tailors ? ' ' Oh, no ! ' ' Well, then, are 
they shorter ? ' ' Not a bit shorter.' ' Anything pe- 
culiar about them ? ' ' Well, I don't believe there is.' 
1 Then how do you dare to come here and swear that 
they are yours ? ' This seemed to be a poser, but 
the witness met it triumphantlv. Casting a look of 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 250 

contempt upon his examiner, the tailor raised both 
hands to heaven and exclaimed, ' Good Lord ! as if I 
did Tit know my own stitches ! ' The jury believed 
him, and they were right in doing so. The fact is, 
we continually build our judgment upon details too 
fine for distinct cognizance. And these nice shades 
of sensibility are trustworthy, although we can give 
no good account of them. We can swear to our 
stitches, notwithstanding they seem to be neither 
longer nor shorter than those of other people." 

I had been listening to Mr. Storrs that morning, in 
the House of Eepresentatives, where he greatly dis- 
tinguished himself, as I shall hereafter have occasion 
to notice ; but if he said anything at the dinner, I 
find no reference to it in my notes. Mr. Amory seems 
to have made more impression upon me, and I men- 
tion the amusing account he gave of his adventures 
on the road from New York ; for there were adven- 
tures ere the discovery of the art of packing travellers 
like herrings in a box, and thus making their experi- 
ences as identical as are those of the fishes so trans- 
ported. Mr. Amory had undertaken the journey on 
horseback, and had fallen among highwaymen, who 
were as high-toned and chivalrous as those of the dime 
novel. They took his money, indeed, and bound him 
to a tree ; but these acts seem to have been strictly 
professional, and he told how the thieves regretted, 
with abundant courtesy, that they were compelled to 
put an old gentleman to any inconvenience. " I an 
old gentleman ! " exclaimed the narrator. " Could not 
the fellows have been content with theft, without 



260 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

adding libel ? " And the merry old soul led off a con- 
tagious laugh at his own pleasantry. How the bonds 
of Mr. Amory were finally loosed my journal does 
not chronicle, so I must leave him tied to the tree, 
confident that a reader of the slightest imagination 
will find some good way to release him, and to bring 
him safely to Mr. Webster's dinner-table. 

I dined twice at the White House ; the first time 
informally, with Charles King and Albert Gallatin. 
The latter gentleman scarcely said anything, owing, 
perhaps, to the constant and amusing utterances of the 
President and Mr. King, who talked as if they were 
under bonds to furnish entertainment for the party. 
The next occasion was a state dinner, of forty ladies 
and gentlemen, very splendid and rather stiff. My 
place was next a pretty Miss Bullett, of Kentucky ; 
but, to say the truth, the conversation rather dragged 
between us, until I discovered that we had a mutual 
friend in Larz Anderson, of Cincinnati. I had known 
Larz well in college, and remember when he arrived 
in Cambridge, a small, flaxen-haired boy, accompanied 
by two companions from the distant West. They 
had come all the way from Kentucky on horseback, 
their effects being borne in saddle-bags behind the 
riders. There was no public conveyance, the roads 
were execrable, and this manly mode of travelling 
was then the only way of getting to Harvard. Now, 
I happened to have a story to tell about our friend 
Anderson, which I felt sure would gratify the pride 
of a Kentuckian ; and as I have not recorded a word 
of what my fair neighbor said to me, I can only fall 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 261 

back upon what I said to her, and the substance of 
my tale might be written out thus : — 

Oxford Street, in Cambridge, is at present a very- 
decorous thoroughfare, not at all adapted to the wild 
sport of turkey-shooting, for which purpose the ground 
it occupies was used when I was in college. We 
stood with our backs to the site of Memorial Hall, 
and discharged rifles, at long range, at a turkey which 
was dimly discernible in the distance. A small fee 
was demanded for the privilege of shooting, and the 
turkey was to be given to any one who could hit it. 
But, except for some chance shot, like that made by 
Mr. Tupman when out rook-shooting, it was safe to 
predict that nobody would hit it. The usual end of 
a Harvard turkey-shooting was the departure of the 
proprietor of the turkeys with all his birds and all 
our sixpences. Still there was the excitement of a 
lottery about it, if nothing else. The ball, if dis- 
charged, must strike somewhere ; and, if so, why 
might it not happen to strike the tuikey ? The logic 
was simply irresistible. A fowl of that magnitude 
would be a most desirable addition to the meagre fare 
furnished by the college commons ; and so the rifles 
cracked, with small result to the students and splen- 
did profits to the turkey-man. One day a little tow- 
headed fellow appeared on the field, and desired to 
take part in the sport. Though he seemed almost 
too young to be trusted with a rifle, the master of 
the fowls (foreseeing future gains) was quite willing 
he should try. He must first receive proper instruc- 
tions about the holding and pointing of his piece, and 



262 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

then there would really be no danger. Young Larz 
received the directions with great good nature, raised 
the rifle, and down went the turkey. The man stared 
in amazement, and then broke into a smile. " Try it 
again, young one," said he. "'Most any one can 
throw sixes once, you know." Another bird was 
procured, the ball flew to the mark with the same 
result, and a second turkey was added to the ban- 
quet upon which his friends would regale. "Well, 
where in " — the United States, let us call it — " did 
you come from ? " exclaimed the master of fowls, who 
began to realize that his occupation was gone. 

" I came from the State of Kentucky, sir," answered 
Larz Anderson, proudly ; " and next time you meet a 
gentleman from that State, just remember there 's not 
much you can tell him about a rifle. That 's all." 

And thus it was that our good friend Anderson 
broke the ice between pretty Miss Bullett and myself 
at that solemn dinner of high state, fifty-five years 
ago. I suppose the other eight-and-thirty people 
found something to say .; but it is evident they were 
not talking for posterity. Neither their words nor 
their names appear in my journal. That record only 
makes it evident that a state banquet of the period 
was, in a general way, a frigid affair, but was capa- 
ble, nevertheless, of considerable mitigation if one 
were well launched in conversation with a fair young 
lady from Kentucky. 

I enjoyed the hospitality of the Vice-President, 
who, contrary to custom, had come up to the capital 
and was actually doing the work of his place. The 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 263 

usage had been for the holders of this office to stay 
quietly at home, draw their salaries, and allow some 
senator to preside in the Upper House. But Calhoun 
proclaimed that he would receive no emoluments 
from an office without assuming its responsibilities, 
and, whether constrained by this just sentiment or to 
look sharply after his political fortunes, had estab- 
lished himself at the capital and was one of its prin- 
cipal figures. He was a striking-looking man, then 
forty-four years old, with thick hair, brushed back 
defiantly. He had joined the bitter opposition to 
the administration ; and though his position pre- 
vented him from publicly assaulting the President, 
he ruled that John Eandolph was not to be called to 
order for so doing. Mr. Calhoun, with the foresight 
of a politician, was accustomed to make himself 
agreeable to young men appearing in Washington 
who might possibly rise to influence in their respec- 
tive communities. It was probably with a view to 
such a contingency that he favored me with a long 
dissertation upon public affairs. He never alluded 
to the subject of slavery, though it was easy to see 
that reference to this interest shaped his opinions 
about tariffs, state rights, internal improvements, and 
other questions, with which, on the surface, it had 
small connection. The concluding words of this ag- 
gressive Democrat made an ineffaceable impression 
upon my mind. They were pronounced in a subdued 
tone of esoteric confidence, such as an ancient augur 
might have used to a neophyte in his profession. 
Substantially they were these : " Now, from what I 



264 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

have said to you, I think you will see that the in- 
terests of the gentlemen of the North and those of the 
South are identical." I can quote no utterance more 
characteristic of the political Washington of twenty- 
six than this. The inference was that the " glittering 
generalizations " of the Declaration were never meant 
to be taken seriously. Gentlemen were the natural 
rulers of America, after all. It has taken all the suc- 
ceeding half-century to reach a vital belief that the 
people, and not gentlemen (using the word, of course, 
in its common and narrow sense), are to govern this 
country. It will take much more than another half- 
century before the necessary and (in the end) benefi- 
cent consequences of this truth shall be fully realized. 
I may here mention that I have rarely met a lady so 
skilful in political discussion as was Miss Calhoun, 
the daughter of the Vice-President. I do not feel 
certain that it was during this visit to the capital 
that I made her acquaintance, — it may have been at 
a subsequent period ; but I well remember the clear- 
ness with which she presented the Southern view of 
the situation, and the ingenuity with which she 
parried such objections as I was able to present. 
The fashionable ladies of the South had received the 
education of political thought and discussion to a 
degree unknown among their sisters of the North. 
"She can read bad French novels and play a few 
tunes on the piano," said a cynical friend of mine 
concerning a young lady who had completed the 
costly education of a fashionable school in New 
York ; " but, upon my word, she does not know 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 265 

whether she is living in a monarchy or a republic." 
The sneer would never have applied to the corre- 
sponding class at the South. These ladies were 
conversant with political theories, and held definite 
political opinions. Yes, and they had the courage 
of their opinions too, as the war abundantly testi- 
fied. 

One of the pleasantest dinners that I attended in 
Washington took place at Miss Hyer's boarding- 
house. It was given by the gentlemen lodgers, who, 
by a small subscription, added a few dishes to the 
ordinary bill of fare. Mr. Webster and Senator Mills, 
of Massachusetts, were among the guests, and when, 
after the removal of the cloth, some Bordeaux wine 
was added to the customary Madeira, the conversation 
was easy and animated. It was Mr. Webster's say- 
ing that dinners were agreeable in inverse ratio to 
their state and formality, and on this occasion he 
certainly proved that French cooking and cut-glass 
were no necessary adjuncts to a brilliant party. 

For the benefit of younger readers, it may be well 
to mention that the use of wine and spirit was practi- 
cally universal at the time of which I am speaking. 
Nobody thought it possible to dine without one or 
the other. At the boarding-houses and hotels every 
guest had his bottle or his interest in a bottle. In 
the early days of the Sound steamers, decanters of 
brandy, free to all, were placed upon the table, as 
part of the provision necessary for a meal. What 
a beneficent change in public sentiment has been 
wrought ! Much as yet remains to be done, the ad- 



266 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

vocates of temperance should be full of courage, by 
remembering what has been accomplished. 

As the present paper has had so much concern 
with Mr. Webster, I will conclude it by giving an 
incident which occurred some years afterward, and 
which will show the overwhelming effect which his 
mere personal presence wrought upon men. The 
route between Boston and New York by the way of 
New Haven had just been opened, and I was occu- 
pying a seat with Mr. Webster when the cars stopped 
at the latter city. Mr. Webster was not quite well, 
and, saying that he thought it would be prudent to 
take some brandy, asked me to accompany him in 
search of it. We accordingly entered a bar-room 
near the station, and the order was given. The at- 
tendant, without looking at his customer, mechani- 
cally took a decanter from a shelf behind him and 
placed it near some glasses on the counter. Just as 
Webster was about to help himself, the bar-tender, 
happening to look up, started, as if he had seen a 
spirit, and cried " Stop ! v with great vehemence. He 
then took the decanter from Webster's hand, replaced 
it on the shelf whence it came, and disappeared 
beneath the counter. Kising from these depths, he 
bore to the surface an old-fashioned black bottle, 
which he substituted for the decanter. Webster 
poured a small quantity into a glass, drank it off 
with great relish, and threw down half a dollar in 
payment. The bar-keeper began to fumble in a 
drawer of silver, as if selecting some smaller pieces for 
change; whereupon Webster waved his hand with 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 267 

dignity, and with rich and authoritative tones pro- 
nounced these words : " My good friend, let me offer 
you a piece of advice. Whenever you give that good 
brandy from under the counter, never take the trou- 
ble to make change." As we turned to go out, the 
dealer in liquors placed one hand upon the bar, threw 
himself over it, and caught me by the arm. " Tell 
me who that man is ! " he cried with genuine emo- 
tion. " He is Daniel Webster," I answered. The 
man paused, as if to find words adequate to convey 
the impression made upon him, and then exclaimed 
in a fervent half-whisper, " By Heaven, sir, that man 
should he President of the United States ! " The ad- 
juration was stronger than I have written it; but it 
was not uttered profanely, — it was simply the em- 
phasis of an overpowering conviction. The incident 
was but a straw upon the current ; but it illustrates 
the commanding magnetism of Webster. Without 
asking the reason, men once subjected to his spell 
were compelled to love, to honor, and (so some cynics 
would wish to add) to forgive him. No man of mark 
ever satisfied the imagination so completely. The 
young men of to-day who go to Washington find a 
city of luxurious appointments and noble buildings, 
very different from the capital of muddy streets and 
scattered houses with which I was familiar. But 
where is the living figure, cast in heroic mould, to 
represent the ideal of American manhood ? Can the 
capital of to-day show anything so majestic and in- 
spiring as was Daniel Webster in the Washington of 
1826? 



268 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 



II. 



The evening parties of Washington were the social 
features of the place at the time of my visit. The 
company assembled about eight, and began to break 
up shortly after eleven, having enjoyed the recrea- 
tions of dancing, card-playing, music, or conversation. 
Everybody in the city who occupied the necessary 
social position appeared at these gatherings ; and, be- 
ing at the age when the tinsel of Vanity Fair is at its 
full glitter, I enjoyed them highly. My first Wash- 
ington party was at Mrs. Wirt's, where I was taken 
as a stranger by Mr. and Mrs. Webster. My journal 
mentions the ladies who impressed me sufficiently 
to appear in its record. I talked, it seems, with Miss 
Henry, a descendant of the Virginian orator ; and with 
Miss Wirt, the daughter of the house. Both these 
ladies impressed me very favorably, and I tell how 
the former played finely upon the piano and harp and 
sang simple songs, to the satisfaction of the guests. 
Mrs. David Hoffman, of Baltimore, I describe as 
* pretty, learned, and agreeable." With her I have a 
brief talk, and am then presented to a lady whose 
beauty was the admiration of Washington and whose 
name was, consequently, upon every tongue, — at 
least something like her name ; for society had de- 
creed that this fair woman should be known as Mrs. 
Florida White, her husband being a delegate from our 
most southern territory. And splendid in her beauty 
Mrs. White undoubtedly was, and it was only natural 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826 269 

that the impressible young gentleman from Boston 
should feel highly gratified when she proposed to 
promenade the rooms with him, and that he should 
emphasize this fortunate circumstance in the account 
he gives of Mrs. Wirt's party. 

Next comes my notice of a ball, at which I first saw 
a lady who at that period was the acknowledged chief 
of the elegant and fashionable young women of our 
country. 

"February 16, 1826. — I spent this evening at a 
ball given by Mrs. Johnston, of Louisiana. I was to 
have gone there with Everett ; but the death of his 
brother prevented him from appearing. Accordingly 
I accompanied Mr. Cheves, and found a crowd in 
comparison with which all other crowds that I have 
experienced sink into nothing. We were jammed so 
closely that it was impossible to see the faces of those 
who stood at our sides. I had a striking exemplifica- 
tion of this fact by finding a lady hanging upon my 
arm who was unable to look up to see who I was. I, 
on my part, exerted all my skill in craniology in a 
vain attempt to discover who she might be. It was 
only after a considerable time that we made each 
other out. The lady proved to be a Mrs. Atkinson, 
from Louisville, and a good laugh we had together on 
discovering the mistake. As there was no dancing, 
I contented myself with moving in the current round 
the room, first conducting Mrs. White, and afterward 
Mrs. Hoffman. By the latter lady I was introduced 
to Miss Cora Livingston ; and I must be able to paint 
the rose to describe a lady who undoubtedly is the 



270 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

greatest belle in the United States. In the first 
place, she is not handsome, — I mean not transcen- 
dently handsome. She has a fine figure, a pretty face, 
dances well, and dresses to admiration. It is the 
height of the ton to be her admirer, and she is cer- 
tainly the belle of the country. Mrs. Livingston, the 
mother, is a fine-looking woman, extremely polite and 
well-bred. She seems to be wholly absorbed in her 
daughter, and is constantly watching her movements." 
I suppress much that might be said about my ac- 
quaintance with this charming Miss Cora. That I 
was greatly fascinated with her my journal confesses 
upon nearly every page. I called on her betimes the 
morning after Mrs. Johnston's ball (I had fortunately 
letters to her father), attended her to other balls, vis- 
ited her frequently, and was fairly to be numbered in 
her large circle of admirers. At the public ball at 
Carracci's Assembly Eooms, where all Washington 
was present, I note my gratification in the honor done 
me by Miss Cora in reserving for me the first cotillon, 
and add that, " as a matter of course, every one gath- 
ered about our set, to admire the grace of my fair 
partner." And, the dance being finished, I tell how I 
walked about the room with her, and how she gra- 
ciously introduced me to several of the lesser beau- 
ties. " And now," said she, " I am going to perform 
one of the greatest acts of heroism of which a woman 
can be capable. I am going to present you to my 
rival." So saying, Miss Cora divided a group of gen- 
tlemen, who had gathered about Miss Catherine Van 
Rensselaer, of Albany, — "a tall, genteel girl," says 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 271 

my journal laconically, * and said to have a fine mind 
and a rich father." This lady, it appears, was consid- 
ered a belle who might possibly compete with Miss 
Livingston ; but if I did not warmly protest against 
the possibility of the rivalship that was hinted at, I 
was far less enthralled with this latter lady than the 
evidence before me seems to indicate. I puzzled that 
night over the mystery of the attraction exercised 
by this exquisite specimen of womanhood, and wrote 
out a theory upon the subject, which is too crude for 
quotation. When I took leave of Miss Cora, on 
leaving Washington, there was perhaps a little feel- 
ing on both sides. We had been much together — 
meeting nearly every day, in fact — and in an inno- 
cent way had become very pleasantly intimate. We 
acknowledged that we might never meet again : Bos- 
ton and New Orleans were then far apart ; and so the 
lady turned, I suppose, to the scores of young fellows 
who were coveting her smiles, and I bore away an 
image of loveliness and grace never to be erased. 
But we did meet again ; and if the reader will kindly 
suppose thirty years to have elapsed, I will tell him 
how. From this shelf of old journals I select the 
volume for 1856, and open to the record of Saturday, 
the 30th of August. I am now with some friends on 
the North Biver, and am taken to Montgomery Place, 
to see the fine arboretum belonging to Mr. Barton. 
And Mr. Barton himself meets us at the door of his 
house, and, although lame from the gout, walks with 
us about the garden, and points out his choicest trees. 
At last comes the invitation which fills me with a ner- 



272 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

vous apprehension : " Will you come into the house 
and see Mrs. Barton ? " Yes, I was to see what re- 
mained of the lovely Cora Livingston. The picture 
of what she had been was perfect in my mind and 
remains so to-day. " Surely, never lighted on this 
orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more de- 
lightful vision ! " Burke's famous apostrophe to the 
Queen of France is none too good for the queen of 
American society in 1826. She was as graceful as a 
bird, and her step was so elastic that, as Hawthorne 
says of one of his characters, motion seemed as easy 
to her as rest. I will not describe the old lady, in 
cap and dress of studied simplicity, to whom I was 
presented by Mr. Barton. My nap had lasted ten 
years longer than Rip Van Winkle's, and this was the 
penalty. The reflections which arise under such cir- 
cumstances have been written for all time by the 
author of Ecclesiastes, and it is unnecessary to repeat 
them. " You would not have known me ! " said Mrs. 
Barton. I could only be silent. "Come into the 
next room, then, and you shall see the Cora Living- 
ston you knew in Washington." A full-length por- 
trait of a young lady, in a ball dress, hung upon the 
wall. Yes, fixed upon the artist's canvas was the 
lovely being who shone upon the society of the capi- 
tal thirty years before. I wonder where that portrait 
is now, and whether those who may daily see it have 
a proper sense of their privilege ! Some years ago the 
venerable Mrs. Barton passed to the world of spirits ; 
but before her death an arrangement was made by 
which the four folio Shakespeares she possessed came 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 273 

to the Boston City Library. Interesting old volumes 
they are ; highly prized by the many owners through 
whose ringers they have slipped ; and containing, as 
we all know, some good descriptions of what is de- 
lightful in woman. But there will be one association 
the less with them when I am no longer able to climb 
the stairs which lead to Bates Hall. There will be 
no one left to tell how their last private possessor 
once seemed to fill the most perfect outline of a 
charming woman that the poet has drawn. 

And now let us go back again to the Washington 
of 1826. At the public ball of which I have spoken 
I saw the waltz introduced into society for the first 
time. The conspicuous performer was Baron Stackel- 
burg, who whirled through its mazes with a huge pair 
of dragoon spurs bound to his heels. The danger of 
interfering with the other dancers, which seemed 
always imminent, was skilfully avoided by the Baron, 
who received a murmur of appreciative applause as 
he led his partner to her seat. The question of the 
decorum of this strange dance was distinctly raised 
upon its first appearance, and it was nearly twenty- 
five years later before remonstrances ceased to be 
heard. How far the waltz, and its successors of a 
similar character, may be compatible with feminine 
modesty, is a question which need not here be dis- 
cussed. It is sufficient to say that, socially speaking, 
it has proved an unmitigated nuisance. It has utterly 
routed the intellectual element that was once con- 
spicuous even in fashionable gatherings. It has not 
only given society over to the young and inexperi- 

18 



274 FIGUKES OF THE PAST! 

enced, but, by a perverse process of unnatural selec- 
tion, it has pushed to the front by no means the best 
specimens of these. 

I find in my journal an account of a ball at the 
house of Baron Durand de Mareuil, the French 
minister. The decorations were very elegant and 
displayed the perfection of French taste. I mention 
talking with Miss Morphin, of Kentucky, Miss Tay- 
loe, and other young ladies ; also my introduction to 
Mrs. A. and Miss B. (for these initials will do to rep- 
resent them), — " the former being a beautiful creature, 
who is bound to a great, clumsy fellow of a husband ; 
the latter very pretty, but ignorant of everything ex- 
cept accomplishments, and vain and susceptible of 
flattery to any amount." It is thus that our fair 
sisters are sometimes entered in the private records 
of young gentlemen. But the finest ball I attended 
was given by Mr. Vaughan, the English minister. 
Here the dancing was in a large room on the second 
floor, in order that the lower hall might be given up 
to the supper. A table of liberal dimensions, pro- 
fusely laden and constantly replenished, was the 
feature of the evening. Another ball at Mr. Obre- 
gon's, the Mexican minister's, " given under the pat- 
ronage of Mrs. and Miss Livingston," is duly recorded, 
as well as many lesser parties, by persons holding no 
official position. It is unnecessary, however, to give 
further particulars of these festivities. Many agree- 
able and sensible people, both men and women, were 
to be met. The society was exclusive and a proper 
introduction was rigorously required. General Jack- 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 275 

son's administration swept away much of the graceful 
etiquette which was characteristic of the society as I 
saw it. Then set in the era of universal hand-shaking 
with everybody who could get to Washington, and 
social barriers were carried by the unrefined and 
coarse. Gambling was considered a reputable pas- 
time for gentlemen, and a room at most parties was 
reserved for this purpose. Card-playing for high 
stakes was usual among prominent politicians and 
men in office. The enormous increase of wealth 
without labor which had come to fortunate specu- 
lators since the peace of 1815 seemed to make the 
invocation of chance almost a legitimate business. 
It was said that an original proprietor of a single 
share in the Charlestown Bridge Company had re- 
ceived in 1826 not only principal and interest, but 
a surplus of $7,000. Certain lands in Pennsylvania, 
purchased in 1814 at sixty- two cents an acre, were 
selling at $400 an acre. Such facts as these, and 
many similar to them, in which the gains were not 
so enormous, seemed to make speculation honorable 
and respectable, and the controlling spirit of the time 
found one of its outlets in games of chance. 

Among the notable matrons whom I met in Wash- 
ington, perhaps the first place must be accorded to 
Mrs. Peter, of Georgetown. She was a granddaughter 
of Mrs. Washington, an intelligent and ardent Fed- 
eralist, and from the heights of Tudor Place looked 
down upon the democratic administrations of Jeffer- 
son and his successors in a spirit of scornful protest. 
She was accustomed to speak of them as "our pres- 



276 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

ent rulers," much as a French Eepublican under the 
Second Empire might have spoken of the men who 
had seized his country against its better will. This 
patriotic lady had named her three daughters America, 
Columbia, and Britannia, — the latter, it was said, as 
a significant rebuke to the Gallic proclivities of the 
third President. Of these young ladies the name of 
Miss America alone appears in my journal. When 
presented to her, I could not avoid an awkward and 
yet comical consciousness of the august nationality 
which the lady in some sort symbolized. An intro- 
duction, followed by the usual sequences, seemed 
almost such a desecration as one would be guilty 
of who proposed to shake hands with the Goddess of 
Liberty and entertain her with ball-room gossip. If 
my memory is to be trusted, Mrs. Peter's appearance 
in Washington society was confined to extra-official 
circles. For a quarter of a century the good lady 
had hoped against hope for a Federal President, in 
whose court she might conscientiously assume the 
commanding place to which descent and talents en- 
titled her. Our hold upon political parties is now 
so narrowed that it is difficult to realize the uncom- 
promising sternness with which the original Federal- 
ists kept the faith. To them party had the character 
of a church or a religion ; and I cannot better illus- 
trate this last remark than by quoting the words of 
Elisha E. Potter, of Ehode Island, a gentleman whom 
I constantly met at Miss Hyer's table in Washington, 
and with whom I made part of my journey home. 
He had been a member of Congress in the last cen- 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 277 

tury, and had served again during the War of 1812. 
He was one day giving me a pathetic description of 
the gradual fading out of the Federal party, and of the 
pluck with which the standard was followed after 
the day was lost. " I remember a time," he said, 
" when we found ourselves in a minority of eleven, 
and some timid soul had called a sort of meeting, 
to see whether it were worth while to continue the 
opposition. Some were disposed to be dispirited, and 
I was asked to say a few words to brace them up. 
Well, it came upon me to say only this : ' Friends, 
just remember that we are as many as the Apostles 
were after Judas had deserted them. Think what 
they did, and fight it out' That did the business. 
We did fight it out and fell fighting for the good 
cause." There spoke the uncompromising spirit of 
Federalism. 

Mr. Potter was one of the largest men I have ever 
seen, excepting, of course, the professional giants in 
the service of Mr. Barnum. He told me that he 
generally paid for two seats in a stage-coach, and 
suffered much if he neglected to do so. But the wit 
and intelligence of the man were in fair proportion 
to his goodly bulk. I had taken the pains to write 
out a humorous story of his illustrative of Washing- 
ton life ; but my literary adviser inexorably draws 
his pen through it, as not adapted to general perusal. 
Mr. Potter was one of the men who carry about them 
a surplus of vital energy, to relieve the wants of 
others. The absurd inquiry whether life were worth 
living never suggested itself in his presence. I well 



278 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

remember how the faces about Miss Hyer's dining- 
table were wont to be lighted up when he entered 
the room. He was said to have been a blacksmith 
in his early days, and the occupation probably con- 
firmed his robust frame and gave his cheery self- 
reliance a substantial physical basis. Mr. Potter 
seemed to carry about with him a certain homespun 
certificate of authority, which made it natural for 
lesser men to accept his conclusions. Oddly enough, 
I have met only one other individual who impressed 
me as possessing the same sort of personal power, 
and he was one whose place in history is certain 
when the lives of greater and better men are covered 
by oblivion ; for the muse of history postpones the 
claims of statesmen and poets to those of the founders 
of religions, who, for good or evil, are more potent 
factors in the destiny of mankind. Hereafter I may 
give an account of my visit to Joseph Smith, in his 
holy city of Nauvoo. It is now sufficient to mention 
that when I made the acquaintance of the Mormon 
prophet I was haunted with a provoking sense of 
having known him before ; or, at least, of having 
known some one whom he greatly resembled. And 
then followed a painful groping and peering " in the 
dark backward and abysm of time," in search of a 
figure that was provokingly undiscoverable. At last 
the Washington of 1826 came up before me, and the 
form of Elisha E. Potter thrust itself through the 
gorges of memory. Yes, that was the man I was 
seeking ; yet the resemblance, after all, could scarcely 
be called physical, and I am loath to borrow the 



WASHINGTON SOCIETY IN 1826. 279 

word " impressional " from the vocabulary of spirit 
mediums. Both were of commanding appearance, 
men whom it seemed natural to obey. Wide as were 
the differences between the lives and characters of 
these Americans, there emanated from each of them 
a certain peculiar moral stress and compulsion which 
I have never felt in the presence of others of their 
countrymen. The position of Mr. Potter in his native 
State has now faded to a dim tradition. It was of the 
authoritative kind which belongs to men who bear 
from nature the best credentials. His address to the 
freemen of the State of Ehode Island, published in 
1810, is good reading to-day. There is no document 
of as many pages so illustrative of the best sentiment 
and best spirit of the time. The style is that of a 
man not quite accustomed to easy writing ; but there 
is always dignity in its somewhat rugged periods, and 
the address glows with an honorable self-respect, 
which is not too common in the communications of 
politicians with their constituents. I gladly close 
these records of Washington society by recalling a 
figure so typical of a noble American manhood. 



THE HOUSE OF BEPKESENTATIVES. 



HHHE popular branch of the national legislature 
-*■ was the most interesting sight that the capital 
had to offer to those who journeyed thither in 1826. 
The day of read speeches (prepared, perhaps, by per- 
sons outside of Congress) had not arrived ; neither 
had it occurred to any one to ask leave to print prosy 
documents which had not even been read. The ex- 
citement of brisk debates, conducted by able men, 
was constantly to be had ; and the elaborate speeches 
were eloquent or logical appeals, designed to make or 
change votes. My very first morning in Washington 
was devoted to the House, and the discussion gave 
me the opportunity of hearing Webster make one of 
those massive appeals for loyalty to the spirit, as well 
as the letter, of the Constitution which distinguished 
his public career. 

A movement to put a breakwater in the Delaware 
was in contemplation, and, as a means toward the 
successful prosecution of this end, Miner, of Penn- 
sylvania, introduced a resolution requesting the Presi- 
dent to lay before Congress a statement to show the 
net amount of revenue derived from imposts and ton- 
nage from ports within the Bay of Delaware for the 



THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. 281 

a 

past thirty-four years. Also the President was re- 
quested to furnish the amount of expenditures for 
lighthouses, beacons, and other public works made in 
that bay. This was to be followed by like informa- 
tion in respect to receipts and expenditures within 
the Bay of Chesapeake, as well as similar figures 
appertaining to the harbor of New York. Now, the 
request for the increase of knowledge embodied in 
these resolutions seemed to me so harmless and even 
so laudable that I marvelled at the evident displeas- 
ure of Webster while they were being read. Could 
it be that his practised eye had detected a cat con- 
cealed in this measure of apparently innocent meal ? 
It was even so, and the moment the reading ceased 
the great man rose, and, with the air of one not to be 
trifled with, demanded full information of the mo- 
tives with which the call had been made. And so the 
motives had to appear, though the mover of the reso- 
lution covered them with all the gloss of which they 
were susceptible. The hard fact was that the Dela- 
ware breakwater was wanted by his constituents, and 
he thought that these revenue statistics would estab- 
lish a claim which Congress could be moved to recog- 
nize. Was it not pertinent, he asked, to show how the 
receipts and expenditures of this commercial district 
compared with those of others ? " No," exclaimed 
Webster ; " not if you mean us to infer that, because 
the port of Philadelphia has yielded such and such 
sums to the revenue, it is therefore entitled to have 
its wishes complied with in the matter of the break- 
water. I oppose a call based upon such principles." 



282 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

And then he added with a mighty scorn, which 
seemed to settle the question, " They are the very 
essence of local legislation ! " Whereupon Wurts, of 
Pennsylvania, came to the assistance of his colleague, 
and (to follow out the metaphor) smoothed the meal 
so carefully over the pussy, whose slumbers had been 
disturbed, that it almost seemed doubtful whether 
she could still be beneath that placid surface. An 
amendment was, of course, proposed, and the debate 
became general, Wood, of New York, and other mem- 
bers taking part in it. The closing speech was made 
by Webster, and was pointed and effective. He began 
by disclaiming any hostility to the breakwater. The 
project, on its own merits, deserved serious considera- 
tion. But he wanted no information concerning the 
revenue collected in the port of Philadelphia. That 
revenue was paid wherever consumers of the im- 
ported products happened to reside. "The gentle- 
men in charge of this resolution," said Webster, with 
his imperative emphasis, " are pushing the argument 
of State against State ; and I bar all such reasoning." 
He proceeded to a reductio ad absurdum, sarcastically 
proposing to find out how much revenue was received 
at other ports, and then to make appropriations to 
each correspond to the figures of the custom-houses. 
" If the breakwater is wanted," he concluded, " let it 
be shown on other grounds. If it is wanted at all, 
it is wanted as a great noMonal work and must be 
urged upon great national considerations" As soon 
as Webster resumed his seat the question was called, 
and the resolutions rejected by a handsome majority. 



THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. 283 

The speech was absolutely unprepared, and was not 
a great one; but it was eminently characteristic of 
the man. It illustrated that exquisite sensitiveness 
to any disrespect to the paramount majesty of the 
Union, which would allow no slur, however subtle 
and indirect, to pass unchallenged. 

On the morning of Thursday, February 16, the gal- 
leries of the House were filled at an early hour. It was 
known that the most sensational orator of the time, 
George Macduffie, of South Carolina, a bitter opponent 
of the administration, was to ask a hearing of his 
countrymen. The occasion gained interest from the 
fact that a young lady to whom the orator was very 
attentive, and whom, I believe, he afterward married, 
was conspicuous in the gallery. " See ! there is 

Miss opposite. Depend upon it, Mr. Macduffie 

will outdo himself to-day," said one of the ladies of 
my party, as we took our seats. And these same 
ladies whom I attended were Miss Mease and Miss 
Helen ; the former remarkable for her powers of con- 
versation, the latter a niece of Mrs. Adams, whom I 
had often met in Quincy. 

Macduffie was certainly an orator, if earnestness 
and fluency can make one. His effort (and it may 
well be so called, for he gesticulated all over) lasted 
the greater part of two days, and was always lively, 
if never conclusive. He was not guilty of sawing 
the air with his hand, after the manner which Ham- 
let deprecates, for he preferred to pound that element 
with tightly clenched fists. " Will not those fists oi 
Mr. Macduffie fly off and hit somebody ? " whispered 



284 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Miss Helen to me, during one of the tempests or, as I 
may say, whirlwinds of his passion. Such were the 
remarks of the friends of the administration upon the 
over-emphasis of this high-talking Southerner. 

To understand the motive of this violent speech, it 
is necessary to remember that in 1824 the choice of 
President fell upon the House of Kepresentatives, 
and an executive was elected to whom a majority 
of the electors and presumably of the people were 
opposed ; in other words, the majority of the House 
had overruled the majority of the nation. Here was 
a situation capable of rhetorical treatment of the in- 
tensest sort ; and the fact that the administration of 
Mr. Adams was one of the most honorable which the 
nation has enjoyed had no power to stay the sound 
and fury of partisan calumny. The House had re- 
solved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the 
State of the Union, and was sitting to consider cer- 
tain resolutions formally moved by the gentleman 
from South Carolina. It was proposed to amend the 
Constitution, so that a uniform system of voting by 
districts should be established in the States, and to 
prevent the election of President from ever devolving 
upon either branch of Congress. Under the guise of 
an amendment to the Constitution, a proposition was 
made to alter the relation between the States upon 
which the original compact of union had been based ; 
and this because, after nine successful presidential 
elections, there had come one failure. As the report 
of Macduffle's speech may be read in the Congres- 
sional Eecords of the time, I shall attempt no sketch 



THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. 285 

of its argument. The drift of it was that, because of 
the idolatrous homage rendered to the Constitution, 
the rights of minorities were in grievous peril, and 
this was a matter of serious concern to this very 
democratic slaveholder ; but, after all, he argued, the 
Constitution was aimed at ascertaining the popular 
voice in the election of President, and, if it missed 
the mark, it must of course be set to rights. And 
then the equality of representation of the States in 
the Upper House was glanced at, and pronounced a 
wrong which the larger communities would not always 
tolerate. " In throwing the election into the House," 
said the orator, " we expose ourselves to those arts of 
political courtship which the ambitious have ever 
been prone to practise. The little arts of a dinner 
or a condescending smile are the means by which 
cunning aspirants address themselves to the vanity 
and foibles of those who fall within the sphere of 
their fascination. The People [properly spelt by the 
reporter with a large P] cannot be reached by these 
arts ! " And then Macduffie went on to show how 
Mr. Adams, destitute of the confidence of this vir- 
tuous and discriminating People, would be forced to 
buttress himself with patronage, and to introduce a 
corrupt civil service, like that employed by the Eo- 
man emperors. How has history answered these 
unworthy surmises ? Three years later the People 
seated Andrew Jackson in the presidential chair, and 
the pure and efficient civil service maintained by 
President Adams was degraded to a position which 
is the shame of America to this day. 



286 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Mr. Macduffie's harangue, though one of the famous 
incidents of the time, would be scarcely worth the 
notice here accorded to it were it not necessary in 
order to emphasize my delight with the reply of 
Henry E. Storrs, of New York. "A very masterly 
speech," says my journal. " He spoke like a states- 
man, and commanded the attention of the House by 
his manly eloquence and cogent reasoning. He de- 
scended to none of the meretricious arts to provoke 
applause, but met the full responsibilities of the situ- 
ation." I had never heard a parliamentary speech 
that was so vigorous, or which seemed to come from 
a man so thoroughly equipped. Storrs swept down 
upon Macduffie's hasty assertion that the Constitu- 
tion was aimed simply at ascertaining the popular 
voice in the election of President. The pure demo- 
cratic principle was to be found in no branch of the 
government, not even in the House of Eepresenta- 
tives. The nation was based upon a mixed principle, 
in which the rights of independent States were com- 
mingled with those of the people at large. And then 
came a cutting proposition to the Southern gentle- 
man, who, in his enthusiasm for pure democracy, was 
disposed to sink the rights guaranteed to the States 
as separate communities. With telling effect Storrs 
pointed his finger at the peculiar Southern institution, 
and showed that its stability would be at an end the 
moment that the people of all the States were melted 
into one mass, and the voters of the South had no 
advantage in representation. He begged that Mac- 
duffie would proceed to complete his amendment on 






THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. 287 

his own principles, and abolish a state of things which 
gave the white men of his section a much greater 
weight than those of the North. The argumentum 
ad hominem was never more remorselessly put, and 
the " sensation " which ran along the galleries was 
a deserved tribute to the acumen and eloquence of 
the member from New York. Mr. Storrs was, after 
Daniel Webster, the most impressive man in a Con- 
gress which fairly represented the best intelligence of 
the country. To hear him speak was to carry away 
a lasting memory of eloquence and ability ; yet, for 
some reason, he missed the position of conspicuous 
leadership which men of far less power have easily 
maintained. His friends used to account for this by 
saying that Storrs had a judicial way of looking all 
round a subject, which deprived him of that absorb- 
ing enthusiasm for one particular view of it upon 
which political prominence depends. His reasoning, 
they said, was strong enough to convince every one 
but himself; but he could never believe that his own 
arguments quite closed a question, and he was sincere 
enough to let the world know that this was the case. 
A biography of Mr. Storrs was once in contemplation. 
It was to have been the joint work of William C. 
Noyes and William H. Bogart, and the latter has told 
us that, after the death of Mr. Noyes, the journal of 
Mr. Storrs had been given to the Buffalo Historical 
Society. Whether it has ever been published I have 
no knowledge. 

I was fortunate in hearing the elaborate speech by 
William S. Archer, of Virginia, upon the Macduftie 



288 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

resolutions, as it was a fine specimen of Southern elo- 
quence, as well as very sensible in its general drift- 
The name of this gentleman was seldom mentioned 
without the addition of an adjective borrowed from 
Dr. Young's " Night Thoughts," a poem which at that 
time was familiar to everybody who read poetry at 
all. " Insatiate Archer ! would not one suffice ? " sung 
the royal chaplain, thus apostrophizing the last 
enemy of man. The quotation was altogether too 
felicitous to escape attention when the member from 
the Old Dominion made more speeches than were 
thought necessary upon some question before the 
House ; and so it came to pass that in the social 
Washington of 1826 it was as natural to speak of 
Insatiate Archer as of Daniel Webster or of Henrv 
Clay. Mr. Archei's rhetoric, though a little too bril- 
liant for Northern taste, was certainly effective, and 
his unequivocal condemnation of the radical changes 
in the Constitution which Macduffie had demanded 
was sustained by a vigorous argument. Neverthe- 
less, about the matter upon which the feeling of the 
day was most excited he was with his friend from 
South Carolina. He saw small hope for the Union 
unless the Constitution were so far amended as to 
prevent the election of President from devolving 
upon either branch of Congress. Waxing very elo- 
quent over the perilous jurisdiction of the House in 
the appointment of the executive magistrate, he fin- 
ished a compromise speech which commanded the 
attention, as it largely appealed to the sympathies, 
of his audience. 



THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. 289 

The gallery of the old House of Eepresentatives 
was, in fact, not a gallery at all, it being simply a 
platform, raised a foot or two above the floor of the 
hall, which gave the honorable members an excellent 
opportunity of attending to the ladies who had come 
to listen to them. The huge pillars by which it was 
dividfed rendered it difficult to secure a place from 
which trie whole assembly could be seen, and it fol- 
lowed that it was highly important to know who the 
speakers were to be before selecting seats. It was a 
serious drawback to the interest of a debate that some 
of the participants must necessarily be concealed ; but 
then the debates were interesting enough to over- 
come this drawback, for Congress was at that time 
fairly thrust up to the true theory of its character, 
and it was an education to have the freedom of the 
galleries. Men who could think on their feet and 
who were keen to take advantage of any slip in the 
arguments of their opponents were sent as the ablest 
mouthpieces of different phases of public sentiment. 
To a New Englander, a debate in the House was like 
a glorified town-meeting. There was all the alert- 
ness of mind which is so conspicuous in that primal 
assembly, accompanied with an ability which could 
fairly grapple with the national problems presented 
for solution. Prejudice and passion, of course, there 
were ; but the unjust war upon the administration 
was well fought. From their point of view, the as- 
sailing partisans were patriotic men. Grant the 
premises that the Southern States were their country 
and slavery was its life-blood, and their favorite epi- 

1S 



290 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

tbet, "chivalrous," need not be withheld from the lead- 
ing spirits of the opposition. Men will soon come 
to believe what they wish to believe. A few down- 
right phrases of Mr. Adams (" Paralyzed by the will 
of our constituents " was one of them) were torn from 
their context to represent him as a monarchist con- 
spiring against the liberties of the nation. Meantime 
the " Old Eoman " (as Jackson was absurdly called) 
was inarching upon the straggling provincial town 
which then did duty as the capital. He would re- 
ward his friends and punish his enemies, who were 
also, of course, the friends and enemies of mankind. 
The verdict of history has already been given upon 
the administration of the younger President Adams. 
It was tried as by fire, and came out as gold from 
the furnace. 



THEOUGH BALTIMOEE TO BOSTON. 



AT seven o'clock on the morning of the 4th of 
March, 1826, all the company at Miss Hyer's 
boarding-house made their appearance at an uncom- 
fortably early breakfast, to take leave of Martin 
Brimmer, of Boston, Captain Zantzinger, and myself, 
who were booked to leave Washington by the early 
stage. The breakfast, however, might as well have 
been postponed to a more seasonable hour, for the 
stage did not appear for an hour after it was due, 
and, to say the truth, did not appear even then. 
What did arrive was a nondescript sort of conveyance, 
which looked more like a hearse upon a gigantic scale 
than any modern vehicle with which I am acquainted. 
There were about a dozen passengers who wished to 
go North, and we were told that the combined weight 
of this unexpected multitude had broken down the 
regular coach, and hence we were served this melan- 
choly substitute. It was raining violently, and my 
journal relates how we were forced to climb in over 
the horses' backs, in the most irregular and awkward 
fashion. For an hour we travelled in absolute dark- 
ness and discomfort ; and then, the rain having 
ceased, the leathern curtains were rolled up, and I 



292 



FIGURES OF THE PAST. 



discovered my fellow-passengers. As five of these 
were army officers, the conversation began upon war, 
and then passed to a subject of universal interest, — 
canals. The successful completion of the Erie Canal 
had been the great event of the previous year, and 
the possibilities of transportation which prophets 
could discern seemed quite stupendous. Why would 
it not be possible, by constant relays of horses, to 
move passengers at the rate of eight miles an hour 
over these watery highways ? And what changes 
would not our children witness who might live to 
see such a day ! It was hardly too much to say that 
both houses of Congress might be moved at a reason- 
able rate of speed with scarcely more expenditure of 
horge-power than that which sufficed to draw a dozen 
of us over a miry road that morning. The vanity 
of human speculation is quite as striking as the pro- 
verbial vanity of human wishes. A little more time 
is necessary to realize it ; that is the difference. Yet 
even then there were dim portents of what was to 
come. A petition had already been sent to the legis- 
lature of New York to incorporate a company to lay 
a railroad (a horse railroad, of course) between the 
Mohawk and Hudson rivers, to obviate the loss of 
time in passing the canal from Schenectady to Al- 
bany. Here was a practical but unregarded criticism 
upon the sanguine views of these enthusiasts. Canals, 
indeed ! 

Eight hours of fatiguing travel brought us to Balti- 
more, where, by Brimmer's persuasion, I put up at 
the fashionable boarding-house kept by Mrs. West. 



THROUGH BALTIMORE TO BOSTON. 293 

It was a fine, large mansion, evidently built for a 
private residence, and was at that time occupied by 
about twenty guests, whose names I see no occasion 
to copy from my journal. On the morning of Sun- 
day I attended the Unitarian chapel, to hear my 
classmate, Charles W. Upham ; and in the afternoon 
went to St. Paul's, where I heard Bishop Kemp, and 
was dazzled by the crowd of beautiful and well- 
dressed women. I had neglected to provide myself 
with letters for Baltimore, and so proposed to con- 
tinue my journey as soon as I had seen the monu- 
ments for which the city is famous ; but on Sunday 
afternoon, as I was gazing about the streets in a 
stranger's fashion, I was suddenly accosted by Gen- 
eral Stuart, whom I had met in Boston, when on a 
visit to his sister, Mrs. Augustus Thorndike. He was 
full of inquiries about my plans, and expressed him- 
self shocked at hearing that I intended to leave the 
city without seeking to make acquaintances. " But, 
whatever your intentions may have been," said he, 
" there is no getting away now. You have been fairly 
caught by a Baltimorean. So you must surrender at 
discretion and receive the hospitalities of the place. 
Come with me to Mr. Oliver's at once, and then go 
off if you can." And so I was taken to the noble 
residence of Mr. Robert Oliver, one of the most con- 
spicuous citizens of Baltimore, famous for his large 
wealth, abundant charities, and profuse hospitalities. 
He had been a noted Federalist, and during the try- 
ing times of the embargo had sustained the party in 
Maryland by his purse and influence. On leaving 



294 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Mr. Oliver's, we called upon Mr. Hugh Thompson, and 
finally ended the evening at Dr. Stuart's, the father 
of my attentive friend; and the result of it all was 
that when I returned to Mrs. West's establishment, 
late in the evening, I found myself engaged for ten 
days of constant festivity, comprising balls, dinners, 
morning calls, a fox-hunt, a "cotton cambric," and 
such other not-specified entertainments as would be 
forthcoming to fill the intervals ; and any social meet- 
ings more hearty, easy, friendly, and in all respects 
agreeable than those which characterized the Balti- 
more society of 1826 it has never been my fortune to 
attend. My stay seemed like a long English Christ- 
mas, — such a one, I mean, as we read of in books. 
The beauty and grace of the ladies and the charming 
ease of their manners were very taking to one reared 
among the grave proprieties of Boston. I paid two 
visits to Charles Carroll (the signer of the Declara- 
tion of Independence), and dined with him and Mr. 
Gallatin at Mr. Caton's, where the service, though the 
most elegant I had ever seen, in no wise eclipsed the 
conversation. The ladies of the family, Mrs. Caton 
and Mrs. MacTavish (mother and sister, as my journal 
is careful to mention, to the Marchioness of Welles- 
ley), were fine-looking women and bore the impress 
of refinement and high breeding. Old Mr. Carroll, 
courtly in manners and bright in mind, was the life 
of the party. He was then in his ninetieth year, but 
carried himself as if thirty years younger than his 
contemporary, John Adams. I have never seen an old 
man so absolutely unconscious of his age. One reason 



THROUGH BALTIMORE TO BOSTON. 295 

may have been that Carroll was very spare in his 
person, and had no surplus pound of mortality to 
weigh down the spirit. On terminating my first call 
upon this very active patriarch, he started from his 
chair, ran down-stairs before me, and opened the 
front door. Aghast at this unexpected proceeding, 
I began to murmur my regrets and mortification 
in causing him the exertion. " Exertion ! " ex- 
claimed Mr. Carroll. " Why, what do you take me 
for ? I have ridden sixteen miles on horseback this 
morning, and am good for as much more this after- 
noon, if there is any occasion for it." On leaving 
the house, General Stuart told me that Mr. Carroll 
made it a point of etiquette to see every guest well 
over his threshold. " But you should see him when 
there are ladies ! " he added. " The old gentleman 
will then run into the street and throw down the 
steps of the carriage, before the footman has a chance 
to reach them." At Mr. Caton's dinner Carroll was 
rich in anecdotes of Franklin and other great men 
of the Eevolution ; but my journal, which finds room 
for much of the petty gossip of the younger society 
of Baltimore, gives them no record. He spoke with 
great respect of my venerable friend John Adams, 
giving me a Maryland view of this eminent person- 
age, which was, so to speak, somewhat softer in out- 
line than that obtaining in Massachusetts. In social 
meetings of those days men talked much of the past, 
because there was none of the varied and inexhausti- 
ble present which steam and telegraph now thrust 
upon their attention. Let it be mentioned that, 



296 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

when I met Mr. Carroll at this dinner-table, not a 
word had been heard from Europe for fifty-eight days. 
If the reader considers this single fact in its full bear- 
ings, he will appreciate the changes in the objects 
of human thought and interest which these physical 
marvels have wrought. 

It is only modest to mention that the attention I 
received in Baltimore was due not to my own deserv- 
ings, but partly to the regard in which my father was 
held by the Federalists of the city, and partly to the 
wish to acknowledge the civilities which Bostonians 
had shown to strangers on the occasion of the Bunker 
Hill celebration of the previous summer. I had 
dinner invitations from Robert Gilmore, John Hoff- 
man, George Hoffman, Robert Oliver, and so many 
others that, when the latter gentleman insisted on 
my dining with him any day when I was not en- 
gaged elsewhere, he added, pleasantly, that there was 
really no hospitality in giving an invitation under 
conditions which made its acceptance plainly impos- 
sible. One little incident connected with these Balti- 
more dinners forcibly reminded me that I was not in 
the latitude of Boston. I was engaged to dine with 

Mr. , one of the principal citizens, but received 

a polite note from him regretting that the party must 
be postponed, as his nephew had just been shot in a 
duel. 

Of the evening parties it will not be necessary to 
copy the records in full. A brief specimen will show 
their character. 

" Wednesday, March 8. — Spent the evening at Mrs. 



THROUGH BALTIMORE TO BOSTON. 297 

Bozeley's ball, where I was greatly struck by the 
beauty of the ladies. The principal belles were Miss 
Clapham, Miss Gallatin, and Miss Johnson. This last 
lady has one of the most striking faces I ever saw. 
It is perfectly Grecian. And this, added to her fine 
figure and graceful movements, presented a tout en- 
semble from which I could not keep my eyes. I was 
introduced to her, and found her manners as bewitch- 
ing as her person. She was all life and spirit. After 
finishing the first dance, I discovered a corner, where 
we sat for nearly an hour, keeping up an easy, laugh- 
ing sort of conversation. This would have occasioned 
observation elsewhere; but here no one seemed to 
notice it except the gentleman who wished to dance 
with her, so I had a very comfortable time. When 
we were obliged to separate, I tried to dance with 
Miss Clapham, but found she was engaged. I could 
only represent to her partner that I should never 
have another opportunity of dancing with this lady, 
whereas he would have many others ; but he was in- 
exorable and refused to give her up, so I did the next 
best thing in standing by her and talking to her dur- 
ing all the intervals of the dance. After it was over, 
I retired, well satisfied that the reputation of Balti- 
more for the gayety and beauty of its ladies was fully 
deserved." 

There is no use in multiplying extracts like this. 
It is the old, old story of maidenly fascinations upon 
a young man. Let me hope that the intuitive sym- 
pathy of a few youthful readers will give piquancy 
to the foolish words which chronicle experiences once 



298 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

so vivid. At yet another ball my journal tells how 

I was introduced to Miss , " the great belle of 

the city," and testifies that I found her "pretty, 
agreeable, and sensible." And then there is written 
some idle gossip of the young fellows of Baltimore 
about this fair lady. The question with them was : 

Why did not Miss marry ? She was nearly as 

old as the century, and had had annual crops of eligi- 
■ ble offers from her youth up. There must be some 
explanation ; and then excellent and apparently con- 
clusive reasons why the lady had not married and 
never would marry were alleged, and these were duly 
confided to the guardianship of my journal. It is 
apropos to this lady that I shall be generous enough 
to relate a subsequent awkwardness of my own ; for 
it enforces what may be called a social moral, which 
it is useful to remember. A few years after this (that 
is, they seemed very few years to me), a gentleman 
from Baltimore was dining at my house. During 
one of the pauses of conversation, it occurred to me 
to inquire after the former belle of his city, about 
whom I had heard so much speculation. Expecting 
an immediate acquiescence in the negative, I care- 
lessly threw out the remark : " Miss , of Baltimore, 

I believe, was never married." No sooner were the 
words uttered than I saw that something was wrong. 
My guest changed color and was silent for some mo- 
ments. At length came the overwhelming reply 
" Sir, I hope she was married. She is my mother." 
And so the moral is, that we cannot be too cautious 
in our inquiries coucerning the life, health, or circum- 



THROUGH BALTIMORE TO BOSTON. 299 

stances of any mortal known in other years and 
bounded by another horizon. 

I was introduced to Lucien Bonaparte, brother of 
Napoleon, whom I first met at a superb dinner at 
Mr. George Hoffman's. Christopher Hughes, our 
minister to the Netherlands, was of the party, and 
drew Bonaparte into general conversation, for the 
benefit of the table. Morally speaking, Lucien was 
one of the best of the family, and in society appeared 
as a man of varied experience and accomplishment. 
His title of " Prince," which sounded strangely to my 
ears, was brought in by those who talked with him 
quite as often as was necessary ; yet, as the man had 
had the chance of being a king, and had declined 
royalty for very creditable reasons, no one could 
grudge him the poor papal princedom of Musignano, 
which satisfied an ambition to which richer fields 
were offered. Among the subjects of discussion was 
the recent action of the New York Legislature in- 
augurating common schools. Would this Yankee 
notion spread further? It might do for New England, 
where property was pretty equally divided, but would 
be very unjust where this was not the case. That 
the rich should be taxed to give education, without 
discrimination, to the children of their poorer neigh- 
bors, was decided to be simply preposterous. The 
grounds upon which this appropriation of the tax- 
payer's money may be justified were apparently not 
perceived ; and, indeed, it was impossible that the 
characteristic institution of the Puritans should at 
that day be acceptable to the gentlemen of a milder 
latitude. 



300 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

But the time had come to leave the delightful 
society of Baltimore, and I managed to make my 
farewell round of visits, notwithstanding a St. Pat- 
rick's ball and a real hunt (hitherto postponed by 
reason of bad weather) were urged upon me as 
imperative reasons for remaining. My journey to 
Philadelphia was by boat, stage, and then another 
boat, the latter with no accommodation for sleeping 
save the tables, upon which the passengers extended 
themselves. Seventeen hours of uncomfortable trav- 
elling brought me to a Philadelphia boarding-house, 
where I remained for a single day. 

" Wednesday, March 15. — Called this morning on 
Kobert Walsh, with whom I was greatly pleased. 
Saw and took leave of General Cadwallader. Shortly 
before twelve I went on board the steamboat ' Tren- 
ton,' and had a pleasant sail to the place from which 
it took its name. Then took the stage to this place 
(New Brunswick), which we reached about nine. 

" Thursday, March 16. — At six this morning we 
started in the ' Bellona ' for New York. We passed 
down the Earitan, which winds about among marshes, 
greatly to the dissatisfaction of all persons who are 
in a hurry ; and one of my travelling friends was in 
this condition, for he was to sail in the packet ship 
1 Canada ' at noon. At length we reached a point 
where we could see the Narrows, and there was the 
' Canada ' waiting for the steamboat from New York. 
The hopes of my companion rose; but as we ap- 
proached the city we saw the steamboat touch the 
ship and then leave her, upon which she immediately 



THROUGH BALTIMORE TO BOSTON. 301 

set sail. I administered a little Epictetus, for con- 
solation, and after a time he accepted his disappoint- 
ment. On reaching the city I accompanied Mr. 
Potter to Bunker's, whence I proceeded to my uncle's, 
through a cloud of dust. This evening I have been 
at a party at Maturin Livingston's, where I had the 
unexpected pleasure of again meeting Miss Bullett, 
of Kentucky. She told me that she was delighted 
with the city, but dissatisfied with the manners of 
the beaux, who are much taken up with dissipation 
and self-admiration and have little time to attend to 
the ladies. Had a long chat with this lady, with 
Miss Morpin and other belles of the city, and after a 
light supper retired." 

I omit the following pages of my journal which 
are devoted to a soiree at the mayor's and other con- 
vivialities. I will also spare the reader my enthu- 
siasm over Garcia in opera, " who cast languishing 
glances at the box of Mr. Malibran, a gentleman of 
fifty, to whom she is engaged." As my journey back 
to Boston was enlivened by no companion as inter- 
esting as Judge Story, I need only mention that " we 
beguiled the heavy roads with puns and witticisms," 
and entered the three-hilled city on the evening of 
the 23d of March. Life is measured by the sum of 
our impressions, not by the revolutions of the earth. 
During those few weeks of absence from my office I 
had lived long and learned many lessons ; yet I can- 
not but realize how inadequately I have been able to 
share my experiences with another generation. 



THE KEVEEEND CLEEGY. 



nnHE narratives which I have hitherto offered the 
-*- reader have been taken from or suggested by my 
journals written during the decade commencing with 
1820, a period so remote as to be historical to all 
who are now carrying on the active work of the 
world. The decades beginning with 1830 and 1840 
are richer in incident, as I came into more intimate 
contact with distinguished contemporaries and took a 
humble part in forwarding that great revolution which 
followed the introduction of locomotion by steam. 
But the diaries which chronicle these things have 
not the savor of relating to an extinct condition of 
society, which is characteristic of those from which 
extracts have hitherto been taken ; and before leaving 
the decade following 1820, I have been urged, by the 
friend by whom my journals have been read, to give 
some illustrations of the social life in Boston which 
they present. 

The progress in scientific discovery and mechanical 
invention, which has distinguished the last half-cen- 
tury beyond any other since the world began, has 
swept us past many comfortable traditions which con- 
trolled our society when I first knew it. In the third 



THE REVEREND CLERGY. 303 

decade of the century Boston was a synonym for 
certain individuals and families, who ruled it with 
undisputed sway and, according to the standards then 
recognized, governed it pretty well. On the topmost 
round of the social ladder stood the clergy; for al- 
though the lines of theological separation among 
themselves were deeply cut, the void between them 
and the laity was even more impassable. Dr. Chan- 
ning, the pastor of my father's family, upon hearing 
that I had joined a militia company, spoke to my 
mother on the subject, and alluded to a personal griev- 
ance with a bitterness of tone which caused his words 
to be long remembered. " Your son, madam," he said, 
" is to be greatly congratulated, for he will now have 
the satisfaction of seeing men as they really are ; and 
this is an inestimable privilege which has always been 
denied to me. The moment I enter any society, 
every one remembers that I am a clergyman, puts off 
his natural self, and begins to act a part. My profes- 
sion requires me to deal with such men as actually 
exist, yet I can never see them except in disguise. 
I am shut out from knowledge which is essential to 
my work." And so strongly did this eminent man 
feel the disadvantage under which he labored that he 
made it the subject of an address from the pulpit. I 
find, in my journal for January 8, 1826, an abstract 
of a sermon preached that day upon " Sanctity of 
Persons," wherein Dr. Channiug thought it necessary 
to maintain the thesis that ministers, merely in virtue 
of their office, were no holier than the rest of man- 
kind, and that the reverence accorded them should 



304 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

not differ from that due to Christian laymen whose 
influence tended to the elevation of our characters. 

The absence of the able religious press which 
at present exists gave great weight to the utter- 
ances of the pulpit, and my journals contain al- 
ways a notice and often a pretty full report of the 
Sunday discourses. A brief mention of some of these 
old sermons may be found interesting. On Sunday, 
June 17, 1821, 1 find that the venerable Mr. Norton, of 
Weymouth, preached at the First Church in Quincy, 
and that he saw fit to address his remarks, not to 
potential presidents of the United States, as it would 
have been polite in him to do, but to servants. The 
domestics of the family in those days often worshipped 
with their employers, and the good old minister saw 
no reason why a fact of social existence recognized 
everywhere else should be ignored by the pulpit. " I 
am Abraham's servant," was announced as the text, 
and surely, thought the preacher, there was nothing 
unbecoming an honorable and self-respecting man in 
this statement; for the Scriptures are at pains to in- 
form us how good a servant was he who thus bluntly 
declared his office. " Mark, in the first place," quoth 
Mr. Norton, " the dignified mission with which he was 
intrusted. It was to choose a wife for Isaac. Ob- 
serve, in the second place, his self-denial in refusing 
to eat until he had told his errand, though he must 
have been very hungry after his long journey. In 
the third place, note that we hear nothing of his 
visiting any of the sights of Nahor, though to a 
stranger they must have been attractive, and doubt- 



THE REVEREND CLERGY. 305 

less the friends of Kebekah would have feasted him 
had he chosen to tarry for this purpose." Those ac- 
quainted with the sermons of the time can imagine 
the picturesque treatment that naturally belongs to 
these different heads. The resulting moral was shot 
point-blank at such servants and apprentices as were 
present to receive it. While Mr. Norton thought 
it improbable that they would be employed in deli- 
cate matrimonial negotiations, like the servant of the 
text, he was quite confident that there would never 
be lacking opportunities of showing fidelity in the 
condition of life to which their Maker had called 
them. Perhaps I should apologize for bringing this 
rusty old homily from its sixty years of silence. It 
is little adapted to that fair world of railroad presi- 
dents, popular politicians, and successful speculators 
which all young Americans are now on their way to 
adorn. 

My journal for Sunday, November 11, 1821, is 
devoted to an account of services held by John New- 
land Mamt, a Methodist preacher, who attracted great 
attention and was claimed by his admirers to be the 
successor of Whitefield. On the morning of the day 
I attended a baptism by immersion of some fifty 
adults, most of them young women, who had been 
converted by his appeals. The ceremony took place 
in Charles Eiver, near the site of the Massachusetts 
General Hospital. For some reason or other, Mr. 
Maffit could not administer the rite. Witli an ear- 
nest half- whisper, that was very impressive, he pro- 
nounced a benediction over each of his converts, as 

20 



306 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

he handed them to an older minister, who led them 
into the water. Those who were baptized seemed 
under great excitement, and took their chilly Novem- 
ber plunge without shrinking. They all sang with 
fervor as they waded back to the beach. It was no 
easy matter to hear Mr. Maffit preach, for the crowds 
which thronged to the Bromfield Street Meeting-house 
packed the aisles of that building so closely that the 
minister had been forced to enter by a ladder placed 
at a back window. I was so much struck by the ser- 
vices of the morning that I determined to hear this 
famous preacher, and by dint of great perseverance 
succeeded in doing so. My journal thus describes 
him : " Mr. Maffit is a little black-haired man, with 
the scar of a harelip, which has been sewed up. His 
wonderful power lies in his fluency and his imagina- 
tion. In the afternoon his text was from Acts vii. 
22 : ' And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of 
the Egyptians.' In the evening he preached upon 
Nebuchadnezzar's dream. He is very rapid' in his 
enunciation, never hesitating for a word or pausing 
for an instant. He has a fine voice, and it is pleasant 
to hear him." I then speak of his utter want of 
method, and the adroit way in which he disguised it 
by a rapid rush of utterance in the places where a 
want of proper sequence would otherwise have been 
marked. " His self-possession is amazing, and when 
he made some ridiculous mistake he hurried on and 
took no notice of it, and so nobody else did." 

It is not unlikely that the abundant incense offered 
at the shrine of Mr. Maffit drew from Dr. Channing 



THE REVEREND CLERGY. 307 

an excellent sermon from 2 Corinthians xiii. 9, of 
which my journal for the following Sunday contains 
a report. It was a rigid examination of the duties 
of ministers, showing the temptation which assailed 
those possessing certain gifts of voice and manner to 
substitute the startling effects which produce imme- 
diate applause for more effective methods of dealing 
with sin. The warning, if it was intended for one, 
was timely ; for the much-flattered Mr. Maffit got 
into trouble the very next year, and appeared in 
court, prosecuting Joseph T. Buckingham, editor of 
the " Galaxy," for a libel. My father, who was judge, 
ruled that the defendant might be allowed to prove 
that his allegations were true and that they were 
published for justifiable ends, since the specific reser- 
vation of the liberty of the press under the Massa- 
chusetts Constitution annulled the doctrine of the 
common law, that the truth could not be put in as 
evidence under a libel. Owing to this ruling, Mr. 
Maffit lost his case before the civil court ; but it is 
due to him to say that the ecclesiastical court, which 
subsequently considered bis alleged offences against 
decorum, found that wTiile he " had exhibited mourn- 
ful evidence of want of judgment and prudence," no 
more serious charge could be sustained against him. 
This was doubtless a correct view of the case, and 
furnishes one warning more of the jealous scrutiny 
to which the ways of a popular preacher are sub- 
jected. The Christian usefulness of this impulsive 
and eloquent Irishman was forever marred by his 
imprudence. 



308 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

I was on intimate terms with Dr. Channing and 
often visited him. I recall a conversation I had with 
him about this time in relation to Maffit or some 
other modern Whitefield. "To compare any man 
that this generation has heard to Whitefield is on its 
face absurd," said Dr. Channing. "Could any of them 
move such cold and competent critics as Garrick and 
Gibbon ? Now to Whitefield's eloquence we have 
expert testimony, which places him far above all un- 
inspired preachers. Would the most consummate 
actor of his day and the philosophical scoffer at the 
religion Whitefield preached have been touched by 
anything short of the light and sincerity of genius ? " 
I then repeated to Dr. Channing a remark made in 
my presence by my great-aunt Storer, at which he 
seemed much struck, saying that it was in perfect 
accordance with the traditions of Whitefield which 
had come to his knowledge. Mrs. Storer, who had 
heard this great preacher upon Boston Common, was 
asked to give the company some idea of the effect he 
produced upon her. Her reply was substantially 
this : " I remember that in the course of one of his 
sermons (it was preached just after sunrise) he quoted 
the words, ' If I take the wings of the morning and 
dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea.' Well, his 
voice was like that of an angel when he uttered them, 
while his arms rose slowly from his sides with an in- 
describable grace. I should have felt no surprise to 
see him ascend into the air. That would have been 
no miracle. The miracle was rather that he remained 
on earth." 



THE REVEREND CLERGY. 309 

My journals abound in abstracts of Dr. Channing's 
sermons, which, although far too lengthy for quota- 
tion in these papers, have at least the interest of 
showing how much matter the average hearer could 
bring home from those wonderful services. Testi- 
mony of mine to the thrilling impressiveness of his 
voice would be utterly superfluous. " I could form 
no idea of eternity," said a lady to me, " until I heard 
Channing say the words ' from everlasting to ever- 
lasting,' and then it overwhelmed me. They were as 
full of spiritual discernment as the simple exclama- 
tion of Whitefield, which Garrick said he would give 
a hundred guineas to imitate." I may give some 
notion of the sustained elevation of Channing's pul- 
pit utterances by mentioning that when he had occa- 
sion to make some ordinary request from the sacred 
desk, the descent of his manner excited a sense of the 
ridiculous. " I should like to have those in the back 
pews come forward and occupy the pews near the 
pulpit." What is there in this simple and proper 
request to raise a smile ? And yet, when Channing 
made it, after one of his impassioned discourses, the 
effect was somehow as comically incongruous as if 
Prospero should follow his grand speech about the 
dissolution of the great globe itself by asking Ariel 
to serve him with chops and tomato sauce. The 
fact is, that the man who loomed to such gigantic 
spiritual stature in the pulpit was not a great pastor. 
With all his interest in education, he did not person- 
ally come near the average youth of his congregation. 
We revered him and were very proud of him, but the 



310 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

distance between us was impassable. I am speaking 
of him, of course, as he appeared to the very young. 
A timid young girl, who went on a fishing excursion 
with her pastor in 1815, gave me this specimen of 
the way in which the good man sought to enter into 
conversational relations with her. The party had 
been out for some hours, and at length the shy Mr. 
Channing seemed to feel that it was his duty to say 
something to the daughter of one of the principal 
supporters of his church. He accordingly sidled up 
to her, and thus began : " Do these waves look to you 
as if they were moved by the wind, or as if each 
wave was propelled by the impulse it receives from 
the one following it ? " An admirable question this. 
Indeed, it will look so well in print that the point 
of the story may be missed. Nothing could be better 
to introduce that body of useful information which 
oppresses the fathers of the Franks and the Eollos, 
and of which they are bound to relieve themselves 
at any sacrifice ; but, excellent as the inquiry was, it 
shut up the young girl most effectually, for it testi- 
fied to the awful distance which separated her simple 
thoughts from those of her pastor. To ask whether 
his young friend were not hungry and did not hope 
there would be chowder for luncheon, would not have 
been a dignified opening ; yet easy relations, valuable 
to one of the parties at least, might thus have been 
established. There is no harm in admitting (nay, it 
is often encouraging to remember) that men full of 
genius and goodness have had their human limita- 
tions, like the rest of us. Channing's gift was that 



THE REVEREND CLERGY. 311 

of a preacher. His sermons, while coherent and com- 
plete as compositions, were given with a warmth and 
intensity of expression with which scholarship and 
delicacy of thought are seldom united. 

Mrs. Gore, of Boston, afterward known as Mrs. 
Joseph Kussell, ornamented her parlors in Park 
Street with two fine Stuarts, painted by her order 
One of these portraits represented Cardinal Cheverus 
(or, as we Bostonians had rather call him, Bishop 
Cheverus), and the other Dr. John Sylvester John 
Gardiner, the rector of Trinity. Both these divines 
impressed themselves deeply upon the society of 
Boston, and many are the anecdotes that were once in 
circulation concerning them. Cheverus was greatly 
esteemed by my father, who was fond of relating the 
manner in which their acquaintance commenced. 
One day, near the beginning of the century, he was 
driving from Quincy to Boston in a pelting storm. 
When about five miles from his destination, he over- 
took a forlorn foot-passenger, who, drenched and 
draggled, was plodding along the miry road. My 
father drew up his horse, and called to the stranger 
to get in and ride with him. " That would be 
scarcely fair," was the man's reply. "My clothes 
are soaked with water and would spoil the cushions 
of your chaise, to say nothing of the wetting I could 
not avoid giving you." These objections were made 
light of, and with some difficulty the wayfarer was 
persuaded to take the offered seat. During the ride 
my father learned that his companion was a priest, 
named Cheverus, who was walking from Hingham, 



312 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

whither he had been to perform some offices con- 
nected with his profession ; and thus commenced the 
acquaintance, which afterward ripened into friendship, 
between men whose beliefs and ways of life were out- 
wardly so different. No person could have been bet- 
ter adapted to establish the Church of Home in the 
city of the Puritans than the first bishop of Boston. 
The elevation of his character commanded the respect 
of the Protestant leaders of the place, and Channing 
confessed that no minister in the town would care to 
challenge a comparison between himself and this de- 
voted priest. I have a distinct recollection of hearing 
Cheverus preach in the Franklin Street Cathedral. 
His style was very direct, and I remember how start- 
ling to my ears was the sentence with which he 
opened his discourse : " I am now addressing a con- 
gregation which has more thieves in it than any other 
assembled in this town." Owing to the social posi- 
tion and peculiar temptations of his people, the fact 
may have been as the Bishop stated it ; but only a 
strong man would have ventured upon an opening so 
little conciliatory to his audience. But besides the 
great Christian virtues, Cheverus had those gifts of 
tact and humor which are not without value to an 
ecclesiastic. He had a sly way of reminding his 
Protestant friends that their forefathers had fled to 
this country, not to escape the persecution of Popery, 
but that of a Protestant Prelacy ; and when theologi- 
cal topics were broached, he would treat our " invin- 
cible ignorance " with a kindly forbearance that was 
very winning. There was a story that he once en- 



THE REVEREND CLERGY. 313 

tered into an argument with a Methodist minister, 
who, with more zeal than wisdom, sought to crush the 
Bishop with texts selected at random from all parts 
of the Bible and then dovetailed together to support 
his conclusions. Cheverus stood this sort of attack 
until the argumentum ad absurdum, or, rather, ad 
hominem, seemed to be a legitimate retaliation ; and 
so, turning over the Bible, he said he would call his 
antagonist's attention to two texts which, when prop- 
erly clinched together, would end all controversy be- 
tween them. The first was to be found in the twenty- 
seventh chapter of Matthew, " And Judas went and 
hanged himself ; " the second was from Luke x., " Go 
and do thou likewise!' I do not vouch for the truth 
of this anecdote, but only for its currency. 

There is room for all temperaments among the 
clergy. The Church of Him who came eating and 
drinking, and whose chief apostle was willing to make 
himself all things to all men, touches this world as 
well as the heavens. It has uses not only for the 
meditative ascetic, but for the well-equipped scholar 
of genial presence and warm social tastes. Such 
a man was Dr. Gardiner, the rector of Trinity, a 
representative English Churchman ; one who thought 
it no sin to enjoy a game of cards and a game supper 
afterward. At the time to which I refer I think he 
was the only Boston clergyman who was willing to 
be seen playing whist ; and as for suppers, he pos- 
sessed the noble British digestion which regards with 
scorn the weaker gastric fluids characteristic of West- 
ern civilization. " What is all this talk about stom- 



314 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

achs ? " I have heard him exclaim. " You don't give 
them work enough. That 's what the matter is. Eat 
a hearty supper, as I do, keep a good conscience, and 
don't think about them, and I '11 be bound they '11 give 
you no trouble." And the good Doctor took his own 
prescription with great success ; and, with some modi- 
fications, it is not a bad one. In the pulpit Dr. Gar- 
diner was interesting and gratified a refined taste ; yet 
he well knew the advantage of occasionally leaving 
the graceful periods, of which he was master, to pass 
to the direct language of every-day life. After mak- 
ing an urgent appeal in behalf of some charity, I once 
heard him say, " Come now, you rich men, give liber- 
ally ; and I '11 answer for it that you shall have money 
enough left to ruin all your children." Dr. Gardiner 
was the best reader in the town, and it was rumored 
that when among confidential friends he had been 
known to interpret Shakespeare with great power. Of 
this, however,jI had no opportunity to judge, as public 
sentiment would scarcely have permitted a minister 
to entertain any general circle of hearers by render- 
ing stage plays ; but his reading of the liturgy, and 
especially of the burial service, is never to be for- 
gotten. In the latter office he introduced an effect 
so dramatic and startling that it could only have 
been inoffensive in the most judicious hands; but, as 
Dr. Gardiner used it, it added to the solemnity of that 
wonderful fifteenth chapter of Corinthians, which 
has so often strengthened the afflicted children of 
men. The apostle, after testifying how the faith of 
the resurrection had sustained him in his trials, gives 



THE REVEREND CLERGY. 315 

in one terse sentence a philosophy of life which 
might seem plausible to those who rejected the gos- 
pel he taught : " Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow 
we die." Dr. Gardiner's whole manner changed when 
he reached this passage, and he gave the words with 
the full force of dramatic personation. I have heard 
them ring through the church almost as Falstaff 
might have uttered them in the tavern at East- 
cheap. It was as if the Doctor determined that 
Satan should not complain that his sentiments had 
been marred in the delivery. And then this bold 
treatment gave the reader the right to assume also 
the personality of the inspired teacher in the solemn 
sentences which followed : " Awake to righteousness 
and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of 
God. I speak this to your shame." I would that I 
could clothe these words with the sublimity with 
which the voice of the rector of Trinity still invests 
them to my ears. Singularly enough, Dr. Gardiner is 
remembered for one of the least of his many contri- 
butions to our literature. This was an adaptation of 
Milton's "Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity " 
to the exigencies of public worship. The necessary 
alterations are made with good judgment, and I do 
not see why it should not always remain, what it is 
to-day, a beautiful and an appropriate opening for a 
Christmas service. I have heard people quote the 
added lines, and innocently attribute them to the 
Puritan poet, instead of to the amending Church- 
man. It is something to have mingled one's words 
with those of John Milton for the use of English- 
speaking Christians. 



SOME PILLAES OF THE STATE. 



TVTOT many years ago I was standing in the vesti- 
**^ bule of the Mechanics' Charitable Society of 
Boston, gazing upon a full-length portrait which was 
there displayed. An intelligent citizen, near middle 
life, stopped beside me and asked if I could tell him 
the name of the subject of the picture. I started at 
the inquiry, but, supposing that the eyesight of the 
visitor might be defective, replied, "Why, Harrison 
Gray Otis, of course." "Ah! and who is Harrison 
Gray Otis ? " was the rejoinder. Well, I really felt 
as strangely as if asked a similar question about 
George Washington or John Adams ; for in the good 
old town of Boston, where I had grown up, inqui- 
ries concerning these latter personalities would have 
seemed no whit less preposterous. Mr. Otis was once 
the figure-head of our community. Graceful, hand- 
some, eloquent, wearing worthily the mantle of his 
uncle, James Otis, the great orator of the Eevolution, 
he easily took the first place in Boston, when there 
was a decidedly first place to take. Mr. Otis had 
represented Massachusetts in the United States Sen- 
ate, and ardently desired to be governor of his State ; 
but, with all his appreciation of the felicities of office, 



SOME PILLARS OF THE STATE. 317 

there was one thing he loved still better, and that 
was the Federal Party. It was well understood that 
Otis could have had political promotion by joining 
the Democrats, as John Quincy Adams and others 
had done ; but he had been a delegate to the Hart- 
ford Convention and stood stanchly by the conquered 
cause. The notice in my journal which especially 
recalls Mr. Otis is found in an account of a great 
cattle-show at Worcester, held on the 6th of October, 
1829. "I wish it were in my power," so I then 
wrote, " to preserve for posterity some traces of the 
wit, brilliancy, eloquence, and urbanity of Harrison 
Gray Otis ; for when he is gone there is no man who 
can make good his place in society." A festival of 
rare enjoyment we had. The show and the dinner 
were of the best. A bovine procession (I think there 
were some hundred and fifty yoke of noble oxen) 
passed along the streets ; the speeches by Otis and 
Everett were in the happiest vein ; and a grand ball 
concluded the day. No, it did not conclude it, after 
all ; for near midnight some gentlemen from Provi- 
dence, who had arrived by the newly opened Black- 
stone Canal, invited a few of us to adjourn to a room 
they had engaged and taste some of " Eoger Williams 
Spring," which they had brought all the way from 
the settlement he founded. Now this same spring, 
as it turned out, ran some remarkably choice Madeira, 
and this beverage, served with an excellent supper, 
furnished the material basis for brilliant displays of 
wit, flashing out upon the background of hearty and 
genial humor. Mr. Otis fairly surpassed himself. 



318 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

He was simply wonderful in repartee, and his old- 
fashioned stories were full of rollicking fun. I well 
remember the account he gave of the first appearance 
of champagne in Boston. It was produced at a party 
given by the French consul, and was mistaken by his 
guests for some especially mild cider of foreign growth. 
The scene was beneath the dignity of history, to be 
sure ; but, taken as a sort of side-show, it was very 
enjoyable. Deacons, as well as civil functionaries, fig- 
ured among the actors ; but I decline to tax my mem- 
ory further. If it is not necessary to refrain when 
Heaven sends a cheerful hour, as John Milton's 
sonnet teaches us, it is surely well to refrain from 
reporting it. Mere words without the manner and 
the charm of the speaker are like the libretto of an 
opera without the music. Take this for a specimen. 
I remember saying to Mr. Otis, apropos to something 
which I forget, " I think, sir, your wish must have 
been father to the thought." He turned suddenly 
upon me, and exclaimed, " Why don't you give the 
full quotation, — 

1 Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought.' " 

" Well, sir," I said, " I did not think it would be 
polite to address you as Harry." 

" Pooh ! pooh ! Never, while you live, mutilate a 
good quotation upon such a punctilio as that." 

The fun is faint enough as here written; but as 
" Harry Otis " — for so his contemporaries called him 
— flashed it in the face of a young fellow brought up 
to regard him as one of the pillars of the State, it 
glowed with the perfection of social humor. 



SOME PILLARS OF THE STATE. 319 

I may illustrate the intensity of Mr. Otis's Federal- 
ism by mentioning that he could never forgive Judge 
Story for his early attachment to the Democratic 
party. On the death of Chief Justice Marshall, the 
lawyers celebrated his services by a eulogy, which 
was succeeded by a bar dinner at East Boston. The 
friends of Joseph Story were very anxious that he 
should be appointed to the vacant place, and one of 
them, being called upon for a toast, recited the pas- 
sage where Pharaoh says to Joseph : " There is none 
so discreet and wise as thou art. Thou shalt be ruler 
over my house, and according unto thy word shall 
my people be ruled." The hope was then expressed 
that the American executive might find occasion to 
use similar language. The toast-giver (and he who 
now tells the story was the guilty person) felt satis- 
fied with the aptness of his quotation and the com- 
pliment it implied. " Joseph, indeed ! " muttered 
Mr. Otis, when the sentiment was repeated to him. 
" Why, yes, an excellent comparison. Pray, was any- 
thing said about his coat of many colors ? " 

Turning backward the leaves of my journal, I come, 
in 1827, upon entries made the 22d of November and 
the day following. Mr. Otis was arguing in the Su- 
preme Court, and I have noted my admiration of the 
graceful finesse with which he held our attention to 
a case of the very dryest description. The matter 
related to the ownership of certain lands adjoining 
the Mill Pond, which then occupied a large cove on 
the northern side of the peninsula. The property 
had formerly been owned by a Mr. Gee, a ship- 



320 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

builder, who held large estates at the North End. 
I remember a joke introducing the words ire pi ttjv 
yijv which Mr. Otis made upon the name of this 
land-loving citizen ; but the pronunciation of Greek 
at present in vogue at Harvard College has destroyed 
the pun. Some question arising as to the ownership 
of the sluiceway which emptied the pond, Mr. Otis 
took occasion to introduce an account of the feats of 
swimming he had performed there when a boy, and 
then, in the most humorous manner, asserted his own 
title to the property on the ground of occupancy. 
" At least," he added, " I think the Court will ac- 
knowledge that my owm title to this watercourse is 
quite as valid as that which I am here to contest." 

Mr. Otis lived for many years after his active life 
closed. He moved with difficulty, being sorely afflicted 
with the gout and other infirmities. The leader of his 
time was no longer recognized, but the courtly and 
genial gentleman survived to the end. I remember 
that he owned the first low-hung carriage which was 
seen in Boston, the old aristocratic coaches having 
formidable flights of steps, which must be let down 
before the passenger could climb up into them. One 
day the old gentleman appeared upon 'Change driven 
in his new vehicle. " What will you take for your 
carriage, Mr. Otis ? " asked a friend, by way of ex- 
pressing his admiration for this unusual turnout. 
" The worst pair of legs in State Street ! " was the 
characteristic reply. 

The last time I dined with Mr. Otis I sat with him 
for some time at his window, which looked upon the 



SOME PILLARS OF THE STATE. 321 

Common. The trees had just put on their perfect 
foliage, and I remarked upon the beauty of an elm 
before the house. " When I came to this place," said 
the old gentleman, " that fine tree was a sapling. I 
have seen it grow, and it has seen me decline. It 
will be beautiful and stretch its branches over thou- 
sands long after I am forgotten." At the table that 
day his mind seemed to be running upon the past. 
He gave sketches of men once of note and conse- 
quence, whose names even had scarcely reached his 
younger guests. Those names were empty shells to 
us, — as empty of any rich and vigorous personality 
as will be the name of Harrison Gray Otis to the 
mass of readers who find it upon this page. 

It is a great pity that the pew of the royal gov- 
ernors in the King's Chapel was removed, in order 
that two plebeian pews might be constructed upon 
its ample site. I used greatly to value this interest- 
ing relic, which was just opposite the pew that I 
occupied. It stood handsomely out, with ornamented 
pillars at the corners, and lifted its occupants two 
feet above that herd of miscellaneous sinners who 
confessed their miserable estate upon the level of 
undiscriminating democracy. I came too late into 
the world to see a royal governor enter this august 
pew, though the ghosts of some of them would occa- 
sionally seem to steal up the aisle and creep into it 
during the drowsier passages of the afternoon sermon \ 
but the flesh -and-blood personage who occupied the 
pew in my day was, so to speak, as good a governor 
as the best of them. He was the son of a Massachu- 

21 



322 FIGUKES OF THE PAST. 

setts governor, too; and surely there could be no 
better ideal of those royal qualities which should 
characterize the ruler of a state than was presented 
in the Federal leader, William Sullivan. How that 
pew of royal dignity used fairly to blossom with the 
large and lovely family of which he was the head ! 
There was a noble poise about them all ; and then 
they were so handsome that it seemed quite proper 
that they should sit a foot or two nearer heaven than 
the rest of us. Governor Sullivan left four sons, who 
were active and leading men during my early man- 
hood. Several of them had large families, and there 
was every prospect that the name would long be per- 
petuated in Boston; but this once powerful family 
has passed away, and I think there is no Sullivan of 
their blood remaining upon the spot where they were 
so conspicuous. 

I happened to know William Sullivan much more 
intimately than young men commonly know their 
elders. For three years I studied law in his office, 
and of course came into daily contact with him. 
The good lawyer, he used to tell us, should be a 
complete and well-rounded man, since he is called 
to the most varied exercise of intellectual power. 
Sullivan's influence on the bar was elevating, and in 
its social relations (then far more important than 
now) he was its acknowledged leader. But his real 
love was for literature, and he used to regret that 
there is so little means of discerning in early life 
the department of labor for which each one is best 
adapted. Mr. Sullivan finally withdrew from the 



SOME PILLARS OF THE STATE. 323 

practice of the law, and wrote some excellent books 
upon ethical and historical subjects. His letters 
upon the public men of the Kevolution are full of 
intelligence, and will always be valued as among the 
best sources of the history of that time. He wrote 
two treatises for the use of schools, — one upon the 
political, the other upon the moral duties of the 
American citizen. The latter was an admirable text- 
book for the young ; but as it appealed to the truths 
of revealed religion to confirm the law of morals 
derived from the created universe, it has been long 
banished from our public schools. But men of the 
stamp of Sullivan and his friend Otis were more 
conspicuous for what they were than for what they 
did. They were predominant men, and gave the com- 
munity its quality, shaping, as if by divine right, its 
social and political issues. Who exercises a similar 
function to-day ? We find a medley of railroad kings 
and learned specialists, who are not without their in- 
fluence in a fragmentary way ; but we have lost that 
lay priesthood who were once the accepted models 
of high living, and whose qualifications to direct the 
State were eminent and undisputed. 

In no respect have we so disadvantageously left 
behind us the Boston of the earlier part of the cen- 
tury as in the ceremonies of dining. The dining-room 
was the temple in which the social priesthood to 
which I have referred were accustomed to deliver 
their oracles. My journals continually bear witness 
to the interest of these dinners, which went forward 
in the cheerful sunlight, and where the intellectual 



324 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

entertainment was far more prominent than the de- 
vices of the cook. There were no flowers and but 
small variety in meats and wines ; but the conver- 
sation was always general and generally of the best. 
A tacit understanding assigned the prominent parts 
to those able to discharge them. My notes preserve 
some of the talk of these old Boston dinners ; but I 
hesitate to quote them, because they are too meagre 
and scattered to do any justice to the subject. Both 
Sullivan and Otis were largely given to this pleasant 
form of hospitality, the former occasionally adding 
his gifts as a singer to his many graces as a host. I 
can hear even now the fine English songs he used to 
give us ; but something better than these was the 
exquisitely courteous manner in which he would ask 
his wife's permission to exercise this talent. " Sally, 
may I sing ? " was the simple formula, but the words 
seemed to carry all the tender chivalry of a natural 
gentleman. 

I will conclude this paper with recollections of a 
statesman who vigorously impressed himself upon 
his contemporaries. This was Timothy Pickering, 
or Colonel Pickering, as he was always called, though 
I think he had held a higher military rank in the 
army. He had been Secretary of War and Secretary 
of State under Washington, and looked " a soldier fit 
to stand by Csesar and give direction." Indeed, the 
title " Old Roman," which has been absurdly applied 
to General Jackson and divers later personages, fitted 
Pickering like a glove. More than six feet high, with 
a frame nobly set and a nose with the true Julian 



SOME PILLARS OF THE STATE. 325 

hook in it, he seemed to personify the martial spirit 
of the Revolution. He was worthy to have supported 
Washington at the battle of Brandywine. Colonel 
Pickering frequently visited my father, both in Bos- 
ton and Quincy, and my journal gives an account of 
his dining with us in the latter place on the 13th of 
August, 1821. As a preliminary ceremony to the 
dinner, my father, who was an enthusiast in agri- 
culture, insisted upon taking his guest to view his 
crops and barnyard. " So you 've been over the farm, 
Colonel Pickering," said my mother, upon his return 
to the house. "Why, yes, madame," was the reply. 
u I have been all over the farm, and a vjeary tramp 
I've had of it." Pickering was himself an agricul- 
turalist of no small repute; but he found his own 
crops more interesting than those of other people, 
and was honest enough or blunt enough not to dis- 
guise his feelings with conventional civilities. I 
have sometimes thought that this speech explains 
all that needs explaining of his difficulties with John 
Adams. Both were plain-spoken men, and probably 
exposed their minds when a diplomatic reserve would 
have been politic, if not praiseworthy. 

The Colonel was a masterly talker, and entertained 
us at dinner that day with an account of his best- 
beloved friend, Judge Peters, of Pennsylvania. To 
his substantial qualities he declared that Peters added 
a wealth of the lighter social graces that was unsur- 
passable. Jefferson had asserted that if all the good 
things Peters had said could be collected, they would 
make a mass of wit greater than had come from any 



326 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

other human being ; and this his friend thought was 
no more than the truth. My journal preserves sev- 
eral specimens of the jests of this magistrate; but 
they lie flat beneath the pressure of threescore years, 
and lack the vivid acting and gestures of Colonel 
Pickering to re-excite the " peals of laughter " with 
which I mention that they were received. One will 
do for a specimen. Peters was known to be troubled 
with a vertigo, which seized him at unexpected mo- 
ments and caused most unpleasant dizziness. At a 
certain dinner, where his voice rose clearly above the 
clash of crockery and buzz of conversation, a gentle- 
man called out, " Well, Judge, I see you manage to 
keep your head above water ! " Back flashed the 
reply, " Yes, sir ; it has always been famous for 
swimming." But it is not in the power of ink and 
paper to preserve the flavor of old jokes. They should 
be allowed to die, and be newly created whenever 
posterity may require them. Of all the lost books 
of the ancient world that " Liber Jocularis " which 
recorded the puns of Cicero is least to be lamented. 

Colonel Pickering's way of using " plain words 
stript of their shirts " gave his narrations a sharp 
impression of reality. The story of his abduction 
from Wyoming and of his sufferings in chains and 
captivity must be found somewhere in those four 
bulky volumes of his biography; but to hear him 
tell it was like sharing the experience in his com- 
pany. Life has become too crowded to admit those 
exciting postprandial histories with which the sur- 
vivors of the Kevolution were wont to favor the 



SOME PILLARS OF THE STATE. 327 

younger generations. They abounded in illustrations 
and perhaps in snap judgments ; but they furnished 
aliment for thought not to be got out of books. No 
rust of old age had touched Colonel Pickering. He 
was vigorous to the last, as his stormy controversy 
with President Adams remains to testily. " Exeunt 
righting" is a common direction in Shakespeare's 
plays, and indeed, if the adversary be well chosen, 
there are many worse ways in which brave men 
might leave the stage of life. But it is pleasant to 
mention that these venerable heroes, to whom our 
country is so much indebted, put aside their differ- 
ences when they met, unexpectedly, beneath my 
father's roof. " I hope to meet Colonel Pickering 
in heaven," said John Adams ; " and the next best 
place to meet him is in this house." The scene 
has been so well described by my brother, Edmund 
Quincy, in his biography of my father, that I do not 
enlarge upon it here. 



TWO NOTABLE WOMEK 



A T some hours of the day the visitor who enters 
-^** the Boston Athenaeum will find more women 
than men who are availing themselves of its privileges. 
Most of them, I suppose, would stare were they told 
that within the memory of a living person it re- 
quired a certain sort of heroism for one of their 
sex to appear in the library. When the Athenaeum 
was in Tremont Street, occupying the stuccoed build- 
ing of two stories which stood on part of the land 
now occupied by the Probate Office, one solitary 
female ventured to claim the freedom of its alcoves 
and to endure the raising of the masculine eyebrows, 
provoked by the unaccustomed sight. And this 
" woman who dared" was the famous American au- 
thoress, Miss Hannah Adams. It was years before 
any sister authoress came to follow her example ; 
but, nothing daunted, the little lady browsed among 
the books, content to look as singular and as much 
out of place as a woman of to-day would look who 
frequented a fashionable club designed for the ex- 
clusive accommodation of males. "My first idea of 
heaven," said Miss Adams, " was that of a place 
where my thirst for knowledge should be gratified." 



TWO NOTABLE WOMEN. 329 

And when, upon her arrival in Boston, William Smith 
Shaw introduced the lady to the library he had 
founded, it seemed as if the celestial gates could 
scarcely open upon greater privileges. 

I was well acquainted with Miss Hannah Adams, 
who was as intimate in my father's family as a person 
so modest and retiring could be anywhere. She often 
stayed with us at Quincy, where she was held in awe 
by the servants, from her habit of talking to herself. 
This seemed to them a very weird and uncanny pro- 
ceeding ; but our guest had penetrated a world where 
they could not follow her, and her lips unconsciously 
uttered the thoughts that it suggested. There was a 
story illustrative of this habit of hers when confined 
to a sphere of wholly mundane considerations. A 
divinity student, who was going from Andover to 
Boston, thought himself in great luck in securing a 
seat in the stage next that to be occupied by Miss 
Adams. A tete-d-tete journey with the great author- 
ess was a delightful prospect ; and the young gentle- 
man was determined to turn his opportunity to the 
best advantage and to get fresh instalments of the 
wisdom which had instructed him in her books. 
Alas! the fates were against him. It chanced that 
the lady was travelling with an unwonted amount of 
baggage, and the fear of forgetting any of its compo- 
nent parts continually haunted her mind. In vain 
the divinity student tempted conversation with well- 
framed questions. The answers were short and me- 
chanical ; but as soon as they were given were heard 
the words, " Great box, little box, bandbox ! " This 



330 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

refrain was uttered in a tone of the deepest interest, 
and was repeated at short intervals throughout the 
journey; and this was really all that this young in- 
quirer after knowledge could get from his ride with 
the famous Miss Adams. " Great box, little box, 
bandbox ! " Could it be that the rich and varied 
contents of the lady's mind were of less interest to 
her than the contents of those mysterious parcels 
she had in charge ? Whether the embryo minister 
extracted any moral from his experience the story 
does not mention; but it is not impossible that in 
some future sermon he said that, if we all had Miss 
Adams's habit of speaking out our thoughts, too many 
of them would be found fixed upon the mere boxes 
and bundles we carry along the journey of life, only 
to drop at the end of it. Those noble powers of 
mind which should be used for the benefit of others 
are crushed and paralyzed by the pressure of these 
miserable packages. 

The younger members of my father's family had an 
awful interest in Miss Adams, as being one of those 
privileged persons who had stood face to face with the 
supernatural. It was known that the great authoress 
had seen a ghost, and this at a time when it was some 
distinction to have done so. Evolution may possibly 
be doing something for the improvement of men and 
women, but its failure in the matter of ghosts is most 
lamentable. The vulgar necromancy which now offers 
its wares in every street has destroyed that sense of 
the ideal which the old-fashioned apparition did so 
much to cultivate. I shall not tell the story of the 



TWO NOTABLE WOMEN. 331 

ghost who used to haunt the old Apthorp house, in 
the town of Quincy, to a generation unworthy to hear 
it. It would be catalogued among the herd of modern 
hysterical wonders, whose tendency is to degrade the 
mind ; and this would be to wrong its solemn signifi- 
cance. Miss Adams, on rare occasions and among 
her intimate friends, would tell of her visitation from 
the other world with a confidence in its authenticity 
that was very impressive. The scene was in a farm- 
house, in some country town where she was teaching 
school, it being then the custom for the schoolmis- 
tress to board for periods of a week or two with the 
parents of her different pupils. Not to attempt par- 
ticulars, which are imperfectly remembered and of 
which I made no record, it may be said that the form 
of a beloved sister appeared (or seemed to appear) to 
Miss Adams in the dead watches of the night, and 
that the living lady was so frightened that she called 
lustily for help and brought the family to her cham- 
ber. As we listened to the story, we could not but 
share the narrator's confidence in the objective char- 
acter of the vision, and the conclusion of the tale (in 
the minds of the younger auditors, at least) testified 
to the wonderful pluck of the authoress. " I did very 
wrong to allow my fears to get the better of me," she 
used to say. " Was it not my dear sister, who was 
devoted to me in this world and who would not be 
less loving in the next ? And what do you think I 
did ? I dismissed the family who had come to me, 
blew out the light they brought me, and passed the 
rest of the night in perfect tranquillity." This is 



332 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

certainly not a sensational ending to a ghost story ; 
but it is a conclusion so sensible that it deserves 
preservation. 

When I call Miss Adams a famous authoress, I 
speak in the language of a time when she had abso- 
lutely no competitors. Her " Dictionary of Eeligions " 
went through four editions in this country, and was 
republished in England, — a high honor in the days 
when British scorn was poured on all American books. 
Upon her " History of New England " she lost money, 
and, what was still worse, the use of her eyes for a 
period of two years. Hoping to mend her fortunes 
from an abridgment of this latter book, she was 
greatly injured by the action of a person of some 
literary ability, who made a contemporaneous publi- 
cation of a similar character. A controversy arose, 
and pamphlets overgrown into volumes were placed 
before the public. It is sufficient here to say that 
Miss Adams's friends were very indignant at the 
treatment she received. She herself, however, bore 
the injury in the sweetest spirit of Christian charity; 
and if the conversation strayed to this painful sub- 
ject, she would turn it at once with a kind remark 
about the person who (as she and her friends con- 
ceived) had so grievously wronged her. An annual 
pension was settled upon Miss Adams, to which most 
of the leading men of Boston contributed, and it was 
my duty to collect the amount from the subscribers 
and pay it into her hands. An oil painting of this 
brave American lady, who had studied Latin and 
Greek and had written books, seemed to be among 



TWO NOTABLE WOMEN. 333 

the rights of posterity. The artist Harding was, ac- 
cordingly, employed to furnish a portrait, which was 
given to the Boston Athenaeum ; and there it should 
ever have remained, as a memorial of the first woman 
who valued the privileges of that fine library and 
laboriously used them for the public good. In the 
Art Museum, where it now hangs, the likeness of 
this modest lady is lost in a crowd of painted celeb- 
rities, and the significance of its original position is 
wholly gone. It is to be hoped that the literary 
women of Boston will use their influence to bring 
back this portrait of Miss Adams to the institution 
which should never have parted with it. There are 
enough busts of men in the beautiful book-hall of 
the Athenaeum to ran a nominating caucus, or, at 
any rate, the more important pre-caucus, which really 
does the business. I feel sure they would all agree 
that the women of old days are entitled to at least 
one representative in that hall ; and that Hannah 
Adams, the pioneer of feminine culture in America, 
should there smile upon her sisters who have beaten 
a broad path where her solitary footsteps once trod. 

There are persons among us, not very far past 
middle life, who remember Daniel Webster in his old 
age, and who will readily admit that in the third 
decade of the century, when he was in vigorous ma- 
turity, no nobler specimen of a man could have been 
found on this planet; but these same persons may 
say that the doctrine of chances wellnigh negatives 
the supposition that during that third decade Boston 
possessed a woman who as completely filled the ideal 



334 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

of the lovely and the feminine as did Webster the 
ideal of the intellectual and the masculine. Yet, 
notwithstanding such pardonable incredulity, there 
are a few old people still living who will justify me 
in saying that this was indeed the fact, and that 
centuries are likely to come and go before society 
will again gaze spell-bound upon a woman so richly 
endowed with beauty as was Miss Emily Marshall. 
I well know the peril which lies in superlatives, — 
they were made for the use of very young persons ; 
but in speaking of this gracious lady even the cooling 
influences of more than half a century do not enable 
me to avoid them. She was simply perfect in face 
and figure, and perfectly charming in manners. 

In the year 1821 the fashionable walk of the town 
was upon Dover Street Bridge, then known in popu- 
lar parlance (out of compliment to the lovers who 
were to be met there) as the Bridge of Sighs. It 
stretched from South Boston to Washington Street, 
and traversed a fine sheet of water, much of which 
has long beeu made land. One afternoon in the year 
just mentioned I was taking my customary walk upon 
the bridge, and had reached a spot near where Har- 
rison Avenue now crosses Dover Street, when I de- 
scried approaching a well-known gentleman, who was 
universally designated as Beau Watson. He was 
walking with a lady whose wonderful beauty riveted 
my attention. That was the first time I saw Miss 
Marshall, and the time, the place, the emotion of 
astonishment, are fixed indelibly in my memory. 
After this the lady's name has frequent appearance 



TWO NOTABLE WOMEN. 335 

in my journals. On Friday, May 24, 1822 (it is 
well to be accurate about dates), I met her walking 
in the street with her friend, Miss Dana, and prose 
was not good enough to express my sense of her 
loveliness. And again, on the 7th of February, in 
the following year, in my description of Mrs. Blake's 
party, come the words : " Miss Marshall stood un- 
rivalled. She is the most beautiful creature I ever 
saw." And then I relieve my feelings in a wretched 
epigram. The rhymes shall be mercifully suppressed. 
Their conceit is that the goddess of beauty, out of 
compliment to her lover, Mars, has herself appeared 
in a form which is martial. Can any of the aged 
and decayed punsters, for whom Dr. Holmes has 
generously endowed an asylum, show better claim 
to participate in his charity ? But Miss Marshall 
has been celebrated, and in print, too, by a real poet, 
— at least, we thought Mr. Percival a poet in those 
simple days, — and his verses beginning 

" Maid of the laughing lip and frolic eye ! " 

testify to the enthusiasm she enkindled in his breast. 
I could copy further notices of this lady from my 
journals, were it worth while to do so. Here she is at 
Mathews's last appearance before a Boston audience 
(January 28, 1823), "making the theatre beautiful 
by her presence." Again (it is the night of Febru- 
ary 13th, the year following), a house in Franklin 
Street, just by the theatre, is lighted for company, 
and Miss Marshall receives her guests with such in- 
finite grace of manner that one of them, at least, does 



336 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

not rest before he sets down his admiration in black 
and white. And this perfect personation of loveli- 
ness was beloved by women no less than she was 
admired by men. " What more shall I say of Miss 
Marshall ? " I asked a lady who well remembers 
her. And this was the reply : " Say that no envious 
thought could have been possible in her presence ; 
that her sunny ways were fascinating to all alike; 
that she was as kind and attentive to the stupid and 
tedious as if they were talented and of social promi- 
nence." I suppose that not many readers of the 
present day know much about the poet Mason, or 
have ever heard of his lines on the death of Lady 
Coventry, the famous Miss Gunning of Horace Wal- 
pole's letters ; and so I will quote two of his stanzas, 
which, applied to Miss Marshall, give some of her 
characteristics with absolute accuracy and just as 
they live in my memory. 

" Whene'er with soft serenity she smiled, 

Or caught the Orient blush of quick surprise, 
How sweetly mutable, how brightly mild, 
The liquid lustre darted from her eyes. 

" Each look, each motion, waked a new-born grace 
That o'er her form its transient glory cast ; 
Some lovelier wonder soon usurped the place, 
Chased by a charm still lovelier than the last." 

The beauties of society have no longer the national 
fame which they once enjoyed. During the decade 
of 1820 who had not heard of the three great belles 
of the country, — Miss Cora Livingston, of New Or- 
leans ; Miss Julia Dickenson, of Troy ; and Miss Emily 



TWO NOTABLE WOMEN. 337 

Marshall, of Boston ? Two of these ladies had the 
large wealth and conspicuous position of their parents 
to aid them in attaining the sovereignty they exer- 
cised; but Miss Marshall took the supreme place 
without these aids. With her no struggle for social 
recognition was necessary. She simply stood before 
us a reversion to that faultless type of structure which 
artists have imagined in the past, and to that ideal 
loveliness of feminine disposition which poets have 
placed in the mythical golden age. 



22 



SOME KAILKOAD INCIDENTS. 



SHALL merely glance at a great subject. The 
■*• story of the inside management of our earlier 
railroads is aside from the purpose of the present 
papers. Students of finance would be interested in 
the perplexities which were surmounted, the expe- 
dients that were tried, the bitter opposition that was 
worked down ; but for the general reader it is suffi- 
cient to say that the Massachusetts railroads were 
built by patriotic men for the public benefit. Few 
believed in them as investments, and the State, when 
her franchise was asked, burdened it with a condition 
most creditable to the foresight of her legislators. I 
quote the protective clause, which permits the peo- 
ple to foreclose on any one of the old railroads when- 
ever they choose to do so : — 

" The Commonwealth may at any time during the 
continuance of a charter of any railroad corporation, 
after the expiration of twenty years from the open- 
ing of said railroad for use, purchase of the corpora- 
tion the said railroad and all the franchise, property, 
rights, and privileges of the corporation, by paying 
them therefor such a sum as will reimburse them the 
amount of capital paid in, with a net profit thereon 



SOME RAILROAD INCIDENTS. 339 

of ten per cent per annum from the time of the pay- 
ment thereof by the stockholders to the time of such 
purchase." 

There is statesmanship looking out for to-morrow, 
as well as for to-day ! Let us remember this when 
we are disposed to rail at the lack of intelligence in 
our democratic legislation. Proceeding upon the same 
line, Massachusetts, before giving her last instalment 
of assistance to the road connecting her capital with 
Albany and the West, reserved the right to purchase 
the same by paying the par value of the shares, with 
seven per cent thereon. It would take many millions 
of dollars to measure the value of these morsels of 
legislation to the Bay State. It might be worth dol- 
lars to be reckoned by the hundred million had all 
our States similar writings upon their statute books. 
It is not the actual use of such reserved rights, but 
their existence in terrorem, which protects the in- 
terests of society against the greed of some small 
minority of its members. In 1867 I petitioned the 
legislature of Massachusetts to exercise its power of 
purchase in the interest of the people, and to assume 
the ownership of the railroads connecting us with 
the West. The mighty corporations took the field 
like regular armies, well officered, well disciplined, 
and with a full commissariat. The people, so far as 
they could be heard from, were full of spirit ; but they 
were an unorganized militia, without available funds 
to provide leaders and fee lawyers. The corporations 
managed to prevent a purchase, which would have 
doubled the business of Boston, and, by its influence 



340 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

upon other roads, would have gone far to settle the 
question of cheap transportation. But the popular 
feeling was so strong that the legislature was com- 
pelled to give much that was wanted, though not all 
that was asked. The railroads were compelled to do 
something to earn the ten per cent which they ex- 
acted from the public ; some of it, too, representing 
no legitimate outlay in stock. On the 19th of April, 
1880, my journal records a chance meeting with the 
late Judge Colt, one of the able counsel who were 
retained for the railroads. He spoke of the revival 
of commercial interests and of the increase of gen- 
eral prosperity which had resulted from the compul- 
sory union of the Western and Worcester roads, 
together with the fiat of the legislature, which obliged 
the tracks to be carried to deep water. " You would 
never have brought this about," he said, " had it not 
been for that power of purchase which the State had 
reserved. That was the fulcrum upon which the 
lever rested by which inert masses were moved aside 
for the benefit of the public." It was even so. 

There was one question which could not be avoided 
after the establishment of railroads : " What are the 
rights of negroes in respect to this new mode of lo- 
comotion ? " And the general voice of the commu- 
nity replied in the usual chorus, " Neither here nor 
elsewhere have they any rights which a white man 
is bound to respect." The prejudice against persons 
of color can be but faintly realized at the present 
time. No public conveyance would carry them ; no 
hotel would receive them, except as servants to a 



SOME RAILROAD INCIDENTS. 341 

white master. The day in May when our State gov- 
ernment was organized was universally called " Nigger 
'Lection," because on that day negroes were accorded 
the privilege of appearing on the Common ; whereas, 
if one of this class of citizens presumed to enter the 
Common on Artillery Election (which took place 
about a month later), he was liable to be pursued and 
stoned by a crowd of roughs and boys. After the 
Providence Eailroad opened the shortest route to 
New York, it was found that an appreciable number 
of the despised race demanded transportation. Scenes 
of riot and violence took place, and in the then exist- 
ing state of opinion, it seemed to me that the diffi- 
culty could best be met by assigning a special car to 
our colored citizens. Some of our cars were then 
arranged like the old stage-coaches, — there being 
three compartments upon a truck. These coaches 
communicated only by a small window at the top, 
and one of the compartments I assigned for the ex- 
clusive use of colored persons. One morning at 
Providence I entered the middle carriage, and was 
presently attracted by voices in the next division, — 
that allotted to travellers of the black race. I arose 
and looked through the little window just mentioned, 
and saw that a Southern gentleman (if by a stretch 
of courtesy he may be so called) had entered the 
compartment, which was occupied by a well-dressed 
negro, who wore spectacles. The Southerner was 
evidently much excited at finding a negro taking his 
ease in a first-class carriage. There had been some 
words between them, which I did not perfectly hear. 



342 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

What I did hear upon taking my position at the lit- 
tle window was this : Southerner. You black rascal, 
so you 're a voter here, are you ? Negro. Yes, I am 
a free citizen and a voter. Southerner. Well, I have 
taken just such fellows as you and tied them up 
by their thumbs and whipped them till the blood ran 
down to their heels. Negro. Then, sir, you shed your 

brother's blood. Southerner. Why, you nigger, 

you don't mean to say that I 'm your brother ? Ne- 
gro. Yes ; for it is written that " He made of one 
blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of 
the earth." The effect of this quotation was as the 
last straw upon the burdened camel. It fairly broke 
the patience of the knightly personage who had en- 
tered the carriage. He instantly sprang upon the 
negro, catching him by the collar ; and almost as 
quickly I entered the compartment and ordered him 
to desist. 

" Well, who are you ? " said the assailant, with a 
mighty oath. I replied that I was the president of 
the road, and should see that he was arrested if he 
did not immediately leave the carriage ; and, having 
said this, I added a few words of measureless con- 
tempt for his conduct. Muttering some profanity, 
the man left the compartment, while I called the 
conductor to show him to the proper coach. At that 
time the trains made quite a stop at Mansfield, dur- 
ing which most of the passengers left the cars. I 
was standing upon the platform of that way-station, 
when the Southerner approached me, with a beaming 
face and all the suavity of manner which was charac- 



SOME RAILROAD INCIDENTS. 343 

teristic of slaveholders when upon their good behav- 
ior at the North. He gracefully apologized for his 
conduct, saying that he was not accustomed to see 
negroes treated as white persons, and that the sud- 
den introduction to such a spectacle had caused an 
excitement that he was unable to control. Before 
he had finished speaking, we were joined by the 
negro, who, in a manner no less gentlemanly, thanked 
me for my interference, and, producing a handsome 
pocket-book, offered me his card. The amazement 
with which the gentleman from the South regarded 
this proceeding is altogether indescribable. His blank 
and helpless astonishment was of the sort which might 
be succeeded by a burst of indignation or a burst of 
laughter. Fortunately the comic side of this latter- 
day warning at length succeeded in making itself 
predominant. 

" Well, take me home ! " he said. " I 've seen all I 
came for. Spectacles were good ; but a nigger with 
a visiting-card ! It just knocks me down and makes 
me as weak as a baby. A nigger with a visiting- 
card ! Well, I am surely dreaming, and that 's a 
fact." 

The above incident is an extreme illustration of a 
state of feeling which has happily passed away. Its 
inhumanity was only equalled by its vulgarity. The 
existence of slavery in the Southern States presented 
a difficult problem to thoughtful and patriotic citi- 
zens, and good men were unable to agree upon the 
path of duty. 

The sources from which mighty rivers take their 



344 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

rise have always been interesting to explorers. They 
find some petty rivulet, which oozes out of the mud, 
and marvel that its feeble current should swell till 
it bears the commerce of a nation. The beginnings 
of great departments of human enterprise have some- 
thing of the same interest, and I have just found an 
old letter, addressed to me on the 27th of October, 
1838, which led to results quite overpowering in 
their magnitude. The writer is William F. Harnden. 
He tells me that he has applied for a post of con- 
ductor upon the Western Kailroad, and solicits my 
influence, as treasurer of the road, " should you think 
me worthy of the office." Harnden had been selling 
tickets at the Worcester Eailroad depot, but found 
this occupation much too sedentary for his active 
nature. He was a man who wanted to be moving. 
For some reason, which I do not recall, Harnden did 
not get the conductorship ; but his application brought 
me in contact with this lithe, intelligent young fellow, 
who wished to be on the go, and I suggested to him 
a new sort of business, which in the hands of a bright 
man I thought might, be pushed to success. As 
director and president of the Providence Eailroad, I 
was compelled to make weekly journeys to New 
York, where the bulk of our stock was held. The 
days of my departure were well known, and I was 
always met at the depot by a bevy of merchants' 
clerks, who wished to intrust packages of business 
papers, samples of goods, and other light matters to 
my care. The mail establishment was at that time 
utterly insufficient to meet the wants of the public. 



SOME RAILROAD INCIDENTS. 345 

The postage was seventeen cents upon every separate 
bit of paper, and this was a burdensome tax upon the 
daily checks, drafts, and receipts incident to mercan- 
tile transactions. I was ready to be of service to my 
friends, though some of them thought my good nature 
was imposed upon when they found that I was obliged 
to carry a large travelling-bag to receive their con- 
tributions. I kept this bag constantly in sight on 
my journey, and, upon arriving in New York, deliv- 
ered it to a man whom the merchants employed to 
meet me and distribute its contents. Now, it oc- 
curred to me that here was an opportunity for some- 
body to do, for an adequate compensation, just what 
I was doing for nothing. I pointed out to Mr. Harn- 
den that the collection and delivery of parcels, as 
well as their transportation, might be undertaken by 
one responsible person, for whose services the mer- 
chants would be glad to pay. The suggestion fell 
upon fruitful soil. Harnden asked me for special 
facilities upon the Boston and Providence road, which 
I gladly gave him, and with the opening year he 
commenced regular trips (twice a week, I think he 
made them), bearing in his hand a small valise ; and 
that valise contained in germ the immense express 
business, — contained it as the acorn contains the 
forest of oaks that may come from it ; but many gen- 
erations are required to see the magnificence of the 
forests, while the growths of human enterprise ex- 
pand to their wonderful maturity in one short life. 
Harnden's fate was that too common with pioneers 
and inventors. He built up a great business by steady 



346 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

industry, saw all its splendid possibilities, tried to 
realize them before the time was ripe, and died a 
poor man, at the age of thirty-three. In attempting 
to extend the express business to Europe, he assumed 
risks that were ruinous, and the stalwart Vermonter, 
Alvin Adams, took his place as chief in the great 
industry which had arisen under his hands. 1 

" When you speak of the opposition that our early 
railroads encountered," said a young man to me the 
other day, " you refer, of course, to the difficulty of 
inducing people to take stock in them. Nobody 
could have objected to the increase of facilities for 
transportation, provided he was not asked to pay the 
bills." But it happened that I did mean just what 
I said; and perhaps the most singular phenomenon 
in the history of early railroads was the bitter oppo- 
sition they encountered from leading men, whose 
convenience and pecuniary interests they were di- 
rectly to promote. The believer in railroads was not 
only obliged to do the work and pay the bills for 
the advantage of his short-sighted neighbor, but, as 
Shakespeare happily phrases it, " cringe and sue for 

1 It may be worth while to mention that after the publication 
of this paper the author received a newspaper cutting which chal- 
lenged his title to the first suggestion of Harnden's Express. His 
remark was that, as the business was clearly called for, a similar 
suggestion might have come from twenty others, and that the ques- 
tion of priority would be as difficult to settle as it was unimportant. 
He found nothing to alter in his printed statement. He believed 
himself to have been the first expressman after the manner narrated 
in the text, and was sure that he had advised Mr. Harnden to suc- 
ceed him as the second. 



SOME RAILROAD INCIDENTS. 347 

leave to do him good." Can I furnish proof of this 
incredible statement ? Yes, I have it before me at 
this moment, and it is worth giving with some detail. 
The old town of Dorchester, which some years ago 
was annexed to Boston, has within its ancient limits 
nine railroad stations, and at those most frequented 
about fifty trains stop daily. The main road, known 
as the Old Colony, passes over a route which I caused 
to be surveyed at my own expense, with the view of 
providing cheap transportation for the towns of Dor- 
chester and Quincy and others to the south of them. 
I need not say that the land made accessible by this 
railroad has become very valuable, and that the busi- 
ness and population of the old town of Dorchester 
cluster about the stations. If any tyrant could tear 
up those tracks and prevent them from being relaid, 
his action would paralyze a prosperous community, 
and might well be called a calamity by those most 
careful in weighing their words. Now, can the reader 
believe that the very word I have Italicized was 
chosen so late as 1842 by the inhabitants of the town 
of Dorchester, in regular town-meeting, assembled to 
express their sense of the injury that would result to 
them and their possessions by laying a railroad track 
through any portion of their territory ? No, there 
can be no mistake about it. Here is the report of 
their meeting, authentic in contemporaneous type, 
and duly attested by Mr. Thomas J. Tolman, town 
clerk. A leading business man was chosen modera- 
tor, and a committee of six prominent citizens was 
appointed to oppose the passage of a railroad through 



348 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

the town. The resolutions are worth reporting with 
some fulness. The first declares it to be the opinion 
of the inhabitants of the town of Dorchester that a 
railroad upon either of the lines designated by those 
asking for a charter " will be of incalculable evil to 
the town generally, in addition to the immense sacri- 
fice of private property which will also be involved. 
A great portion of the road will lead through thickly 
settled and populous parts of the town, crossing and 
running contiguous to public highways, and thereby 
making a permanent obstruction to a free intercourse 
of our citizens, and creating great and enduring dan- 
ger and hazard to all travel upon the common roads.'' 
The second resolution declares that if, in spite of the 
protest of the inhabitants of Dorchester, their town 
must be blighted by a railroad, " it should be located 
upon the marshes and over creeks," and by thus 
avoiding all human habitations and business resorts 
" a less sacrifice will be made of private property and 
a much less injury inflicted upon the town and public 
generally." The concluding resolution is one of those 
jewels (rather more than five words long) that must 
suffer by any curtailment : — 

"Resolved, That our representatives be instructed 
to use their utmost endeavors to prevent, if possible, 
so great a calamity to our town as must be the location 
of any railroad through it; and, if that cannot be 
prevented, to diminish this calamity as far as possible 
by confining the location to the route herein desig- 
nated." 

The Italics are, of course, mine. They are quite 



SOME RAILROAD INCIDENTS. 349 

irresistible. But when "calamities" threaten, the 
good man does not do his whole duty by protesting 
in town-meeting. There is the powerful agency of 
the press, throughout which oppressors may be re- 
buked and their horrible projects brought to naught. 
Let me quote a few extracts from a newspaper arti- 
cle. It was written by a citizen of Dorchester and 
appeared shortly after the meeting. The writer has 
been speaking of existing facilities for water trans- 
portation, which he thinks should content certain in- 
habitants of the town of Quincy who are petitioning 
for a railroad. 

" What better or more durable communication can 
be had than the Neponset River or the wide Atlantic ? 
By using these, no thriving village will be destroyed, 
no enterprising mechanics ruined, no beautiful gar- 
dens and farms made desolate, and no public or pri- 
vate interests most seriously affected. Look at the 
rapid growth of Neponset village, through which this 
contemplated road is to run (the citizens of which 
are as enterprising and active as can be found, many 
of whom have invested their all either in trade, me- 
chanics, manufactures, or real estate), and all — all are 
to be sacrificed under a car ten thousand times worse 
for the public than the car of Juggernaut ! Look at 
the interests, for instance, of the public house in this 
place, kept by a most estimable citizen, who has 



ever — " 



But I have no heart to copy further. In the wreck 
of an entire community we can spare no tears for the 
woes of a single tavern-keeper. The ruins of that 



350 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

once prosperous village of Neponset are, even to this 
day, visited by reflective tourists. I think I men- 
tioned that the Old Colony Company has a way of 
stopping some fifty trains there, in order to accom- 
modate moralists, who take a melancholy satisfaction 
in musing among them. 

Yes, of all the difficulties that were met in estab- 
lishing locomotion by steam, the obstruction offered 
by blind, stolid, unreasoning conservatism was not 
the least. It required not only men of foresight, but 
those of strong enthusiasm, like my old friend, Mr. 
P. P. F. Degrand, to tunnel through these craggy 
prejudices. There is a certain vital energy which 
thrills in French nerves in greater plenitude than in 
those of other nationalities, and this Boston broker 
had enough of it to run a Napoleon. I used to enrich 
an old lecture, entitled " Our Obligations to France," 
with a sketch of Degrand, — a man not famous as 
the world goes, but one to whom the public is far 
more indebted than to many of the politicians who 
get their column in the biographical dictionaries. 

To the older railroad men of Massachusetts her 
iron thoroughfares are consecrated ground, — conse- 
crated by the labor, the anxieties, the sacrifices which 
they cost. They are monuments to the public spirit 
of the dead, not vulgar instruments for extorting a 
maximum of money for a minimum of service. There 
is probably no short and precise solution to the diffi- 
cult problem which the private control of these arte- 
ries of the body politic presents to thoughtful men. 
The railroads have come to hold a power which should 



SOME RAILROAD INCIDENTS. 351 

only be committed to the State, unless, indeed, some 
way can be devised of holding their managers to 
strict accountability. I have said elsewhere what I 
have had to say upon this subject, and will avoid the 
temptation of mingling prophecies and suggestions 
with the uncontroversial matter which belongs to 
reminiscences. 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 



I. 



WAS fairly startled, a few days ago, at the re- 
■*- mark of a young friend who is something of a 
student of American history. " Of course," said he, 
" General Jackson was not what you would call a 
gentleman ! " Now, although I had only a holiday 
acquaintance with the General, and although a man 
certainly puts on his best manners when undergoing 
a public reception, the fact was borne in upon me that 
the seventh President was, in essence, a knightly per- 
sonage, — prejudiced, narrow, mistaken upon many 
points, it might be, but vigorously a gentleman in his 
high sense of honor and in the natural straightfor- 
ward courtesies which are easily to be distinguished 
from the veneer of policy ; and I was not prepared 
to be favorably impressed with a man who was sim- 
ply intolerable to the Brahmin caste of my native 
State. Had not the Jackson organs teemed with 
abuse of my venerated friend, John Adams ? Had 
not the legislature of New Hampshire actually 
changed the name of a town from Adams to Jack- 
son ; thereby performing a contemptible act of flat- 
tery, which, to the excited imaginations of the period, 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 353 

seemed sufficient to discredit republican government 
forever after ? Had not this man driven from their 
places the most faithful officers of government, to 
satisfy a spirit of persecution relentless and bitter be- 
yond precedent ? 

I did not forget these things when I received Gov- 
ernor Lincoln's order to act as special aide-de-camp 
to the President during his visit to Massachusetts ; 
and I felt somewhat out of place when I found my- 
self advancing from one side of Pawtucket Bridge 
(on the morning of June 20, 1833) to meet a slen- 
der, military-looking person, who had just left the 
Ehode Island side of that structure. Lawyers are 
credited with the capacity of being equally fluent 
upon all sides of a question ; and if I had suddenly 
received orders to express to General Jackson my 
detestation of his presidential policy, I think I should 
have been equal to the occasion. My business, how- 
ever, was to deliver an address of welcome, and here 
was Jackson himself, advancing in solitary state to 
hear it. Well in the rear of the chief walked the 
Vice-President and heir-apparent, Martin Van Buren ; 
and slowly following came the Secretaries of War and 
the Navy, Cass and Woodbury. It is awkward to 
make a formal speech to one man, and I missed the 
crowd which the military upon both sides of the 
bridge were keeping upon terra firma. I seemed to 
be the mouthpiece of nobody but myself. The ad- 
dress somehow got itself delivered, the distinguished 
guest made his suitable reply, and then we walked 

together to the fine barouche and four which was to 

23 



354 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

take us through the State. The , President and Vice- 
President were waved to the back of the carriage, 
Colonel Washburn and myself occupied the front 
seat, the Cabinet were accommodated with chariots 
somewhat less triumphal behind us, the artillery fired 
(breaking many windows in Pawtucket, for which 
the State paid a goodly bill), and we were off. 

Our first stop was for breakfast, at Attleborough, 
after which meal we visited the manufactories of jew- 
elry for which the town is famous. " You have been 
interfering with our business, Mr. President," said the 
manager of one of these establishments, " and should 
feel bound in honor to take these buttons off our 
hands." So saying, he produced numerous cards of 
buttons stamped with the palmetto tree. These, he 
said, had been ordered by the Southern nullifiers as 
distinguishing badges ; but they had been rendered 
quite worthless by the President's proclamation. 
Jackson made some reply, that I did not catch, and 
seemed greatly amused at the discovery that treason 
in South Carolina had its commercial value in Massa- 
chusetts. And here let me say that it was that 
famous proclamation at the close of 1832 which gave 
its author the hearty reception he received among us. 
Indeed, the reception might have been called enthu- 
siastic by one who had not witnessed the great wave 
of popular emotion which bore Lafayette through 
Massachusetts, eight years before. Such an uprising 
as that is not likely to be seen again in the world's 
history ; but Jackson had come to us at a period when 
his bitterest opponents, if not quite ready to forget 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 355 

their grievances in view of the sturdy stand he had 
taken in behalf of the Union, were prepared to re- 
main in the background and make no protest to mar 
the popular cordiality. 

As we rode through divers small towns, receiving 
salutes and cheers at their centres, the President 
talked constantly and expressed himself with great 
freedom about persons. His conversation was inter- 
esting from its sincerity, decision, and point. It was 
easy to see that he was not a man to accept a dif- 
ference of opinion with equanimity; but that was 
clearly because, he being honest and earnest, Heaven 
would not suffer his opinions to be other than right. 
Mr. Van Buren, on the other hand, might have posed 
for a statue of Diplomacy. He had the softest way 
of uttering his cautious observations, and evidently 
considered the impression every word would make. 

At Eoxbury, which we reached about four o'clock 
in the afternoon, we found a triumphal arch, and 
Mr. Jonathan Dorr to speak for the assembled citi- 
zens. The orator was, mercifully, very brief ; indeed, 
his speech consisted of little more than an original 
couplet, which, if not quite so melodious as some of 
Pope's, had doubtless the sincerity which the Twick- 
enham poet often failed to put into his compositions. 

" And may his powerful arm long remain nerved 
Who said : Tlie Union, it must be preserved ! " 

" Sir," exclaimed Jackson, in reply, " it shall be pre- 
served as long as there is a nerve in this arm !" Both 
of which speeches are concentrated enough to keep. 
Those who want rhetoric can add it for themselves, 



356 



FIGURES OF THE PAST. 



as we do water to the Brunswick soups. I was de- 
termined that General Jackson should enter Boston 
in the saddle, as I knew he greatly preferred this 
mode of locomotion. Horses had been ordered to 
be in readiness at the Norfolk House, and the Presi- 
dent rejoiced in spirit as he threw his leg over the 
fine animal which had been provided for him. My. 
neighbor, Mr. Thomas J. Claflin (the veteran conduc- 
tor of the Old Colony Kailroad), tells me that, as a 
boy in the crowd, he saw Jackson mount his horse 
that day. He remembers how the General fell for- 
ward upon the neck of the animal, as an old and 
tired man might do ; then recovering himself he shot 
upwards, as if impelled by a spring, to the stiff sol- 
dierly position : it was a sight not to be forgotten. 
But, alas ! the dismounting was soon to follow ; for 
at the city line we came upon the mayor, seated in a 
barouche, and this functionary would by no means 
consent to have the President enter his dominions 
otherwise than at his side. We timidly pleaded that 
the President had been driven through a long day, 
and found himself much refreshed by a change of 
position. It was of no use. Civic etiquette was 
paramount, and the poor man was made to descend 
from the elevation to which he had risen with such 
buoyancy. The staff, however, might do as they 
pleased. So Colonel Washburn and I rode on either 
side of the august party in the carriage, to our great 
contentment. 

I have no idea of providing my readers with free 
passes to the banquets, collations, military manceu- 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 357 

vres, and ceremonial visits which followed the Presi- 
dent's arrival. There is, however, one little matter 
about which I was blamed most unjustly, which the 
muse of history may now be requested to put right. 
On the afternoon of the 21st there was a review of 
the Boston Brigade, then under the command of 
General Tyler and in admirable condition. I had 
engaged trained parade horses for the Cabinet and 
suite, as I supposed they would all follow the Presi- 
dent to the field ; but in the course of the morning 
Mr. Van Buren told me that he had consulted the 
other gentlemen, and that they had decided unani- 
mously not to appear at the review. As there was 
a great demand for horses, I sent word to the livery 
stable that those I had engaged would not be re- 
quired, and they were, of course, instantly taken by 
officers of the Brigade. After dinner, however, the 
Vice-President sent for me, and said that he and his 
friends had reversed their decision, and now wanted 
horses to go to the review. I frankly told him that 
I had given up the animals that had been engaged, 
and that the party must now take such leavings as 
might be had. Eemembering that, from a militia 
standpoint, the trappings are about seven eighths of 
the horse, I at once ordered the finest military sad- 
dles, with the best quadrupeds under them that were 
procurable. They appeared in due time, and we 
mounted and proceeded to the field in good order; 
but the moment we reached the Common the tremen- 
dous discharge of artillery which saluted the Presi- 
dent scattered the Cabinet in all directions. Van 



358 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Buren was a good horseman and kept his seat ; but, 
having neither whip nor spur, found himself com- 
pletely in the pow T er of his terrified animal, who, 
commencing a series of retrograde movements of a 
most unmilitary character, finally brought up w T ith 
bis tail against the fence which then separated the 
Mall from the Common, and refused to budge another 
inch. In the mean time the President and his staff 
had galloped cheerfully round the troops and taken 
up their position on the rising ground near the foot 
of Joy Street, to receive the marching salute. " Why, 
where 's the Vice-President ? " suddenly exclaimed 
Jackson, turning to me for an explanation. " About 
as nearly on the fence as a gentleman of his positive 
political convictions is likely to get," said I, pointing 
him out. I felt well enough acquainted with Jack- 
son by this time to venture upon a little pleasantry. 
"That's very true," said the old soldier, laughing 
heartily ; " and you 've matched him with a horse 
who is even more non-committal than his rider.'' 
Now, the Democrats were very sensitive about Mr. 
Van Buren, and among them started a report that I 
had provided their prince imperial with this pre- 
posterous horse in order to put him in a ridiculous 
position. I was much annoyed by this story, and, 
although it may be thought a little late to give it a 
formal contradiction through the press, 1 feel con- 
strained to do so. It was the Vice-President's own 
fault, and no neglect on the part of the managing 
aide-de-camp, that placed him in a position to which 
his party so reasonably objected. 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 359 

On Monday the President was confined to his 
room and, indeed, to his bed by indisposition. He 
asked me to read the newspapers to him, and took 
great delight in the narratives of Jack Downing (the 
Mark Twain of the period), who purported to accom- 
pany the presidential party and to chronicle its doings. 
"The Vice-President must have written that," said 
Jackson, after some specially happy hit. "Depend 
upon it, Jack Downing is only Van Buren in mas- 
querade." If it were permitted to doubt the infalli- 
bility of the medical faculty, I should have questioned 
whether phlebotomy was the best prescription in the 
world for the thin elderly gentleman upon the bed ; 
but when my valued family physician, Dr. Warren, 
twice guided the lancet, a layman's dissent would 
have been preposterous. I remember, upon another 
occasion, standing over the bedside of a friend pros- 
trated by a not uncommon disorder and instinctively 
protesting when three of the most eminent physicians 
of Boston declared that there was no safetv but in a 
thorough blood-letting. I mentioned the disorder in 
question to a distinguished doctor of the present day, 
and asked him whether bleeding would be resorted 
to in its treatment. " Never ! " was the prompt reply. 
"Not under any circumstances?" "Under no cir- 
cumstances whatever ! " was the answer. Now, no 
sensible person would speak otherwise than respect- 
fully of the faculties of theology, law, medicine, or 
science ; and yet it does not require the teachings of 
history, but only the observation of a single lifetime, 
to suggest that the instincts of intelligent laymen, 



360 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

when opposed to the dicta of these august bodies, 
are — well, I will say, worth considering. 

General Jackson's illness kept him closely confined 
for two days, and prevented his witnessing the en- 
trance of the frigate "Constitution" to the new dry 
dock at the Charlestown Navy Yard. I attended 
Mr. Van Buren to this spectacle, and saw Commodore 
Isaac Hull, with a huge silver trumpet in his hand, 
giving commands from the same quarter-deck upon 
which he had stood during the memorable battle with 
the "Guerriere." I well remember the visit which 
this gallant commander paid to my father, at Quincy, 
only a day or two after this famous sea-fight. I was 
a boy then, and had among my possessions the hull 
of a toy vessel. This my mother asked me to show 
her guest, who would tell me if it was a good model. 
I produced it with some reluctance, saying that it 
was not much of a ship, for it had no masts. " Well 
it has as many masts as the 'Guerriere'!" was the 
reply which the bluff sailor stamped for life upon my 
memory. 

The morning of Wednesday, the 25th, was chilly 
and overcast, not at all the sort of day for an invalid 
to encounter the fatigues of travel and reception. At 
ten o'clock, nevertheless, the President appeared, and 
took his seat in the barouche, and was greeted with- 
the acclamations which will always be forthcoming 
when democratic sovereignty is seen embodied in 
flesh and blood. Very little flesh in this case, how- 
ever, and only such trifle of blood as the doctors had 
thought not worth appropriating. But the spirit in 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 361 

Jackson was resolute to conquer physical infirmity. 
His eye seemed brighter than ever, and all aglow with 
the mighty will which can compel the body to exe- 
cute its behests. He was full of conversation, as we 
drove to Cambridge, to get that doctorate whose be- 
stowal occasioned many qualms to the high-toned 
friends of Harvard. College degrees were then sup- 
posed to have a meaning which has long ago gone 
out of them ; and to many excellent persons it seemed 
a degrading mummery to dub a man Doctor of Laws 
who was credited with caring for no laws whatever 
which conflicted with his personal will. John Quincy 
Adams, I remember, was especially disturbed at this 
academic recognition of Jackson, and actually asked 
my father, who was then president of the College, 
whether there was no way of avoiding it. "Why, 
no," was the reply. "As the people have twice de- 
cided that this man knows law enough to be their 
ruler, it is not for Harvard College to maintain that 
they are mistaken." But Mr. Adams was not satis- 
fied, and the bitter generalization of his diary that 
"time-serving and sycophancy are the qualities of all 
learned and scientific institutions " was certainly not 
to be modified by his successor's visit to Cambridge. 
It did not require Jack Downing' s fun to show the 
delicious absurdity of giving Jackson a literary de- 
gree; but the principle that wandering magistrates, 
whether of state or nation, might claim this distinc- 
tion had been firmly established, and there were dif- 
ficulties in limiting its application. 



362 



FIGURES OF THE PAST. 



II. 



There is a familiar expression by which news- 
paper reporters denote the strong current of feeling 
which sometimes runs through an assembly, and yet 
reaches no audible sound of applause or censure. It 
has been decided that the word [sensation], put in 
brackets as it is here printed, shall convey those 
tremors of apprehension or criticism which cannot 
be exhibited with defiiiiteness. Nobody who knows 
anything about Harvard College can doubt that there 
will be sensation whenever the people decide that 
Governor B. F. Butler shall appear upon the stage of 
Sanders Theatre to receive the compliment of the 
highest degree which can there be offered ; but I will 
venture to say that an emotion much stronger than 
this was felt by the throng which filled the Col- 
lege Chapel when Andrew Jackson, leaning upon the 
arm of my father, entered the building from which 
he was to depart a Doctor of Laws. Fifty years have 
taught sensible men to estimate college training at its 
true worth. It is now clear that it does not furnish 
the exclusive entrance to paths of the highest honor. 
The career of Abraham Lincoln has made impossible 
a certain academic priggishness which belonged to 
an earlier period of our national existence. Jackson's 
ignorance of books was perhaps exaggerated, and 
his more useful knowledge of things and human re- 
lations was not apparent to his political opponents, 
to whom the man was but a dangerous bundle of 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 363 

chimeras and prejudices ; but I do not need the 
testimony of a diary now before me to confirm the 
statement that his appearance before that Cambridge 
audience instantly produced a toleration which quickly 
merged into something like admiration and respect. 
The name of Andrew Jackson was, indeed, one to 
frighten naughty children with ; but the person who 
went by it wrought a mysterious charm upon old and 
young. Beacon Street had been undemonstrative as 
we passed down that Brahmin thoroughfare, on our 
way to Cambridge ; but a few days later I heard an 
incident characteristic enough to be worth telling. 
Mr. Daniel P. Parker, a well-known Boston mer- 
chant, had come to his window to catch a glimpse of 
the guest of the State, regarding him very much as he 
might have done some dangerous monster which was 
being led captive past his house. But the sight of 
the dignified figure of Jackson challenged a respect 
which the good merchant felt he must pay by^proxy, if 
not in person. " Do some one come here and salute 
the old man ! " he suddenly exclaimed. And a little 
daughter of Mr. Parker was thrust forward to wave 
her handkerchief to the terrible personage whose do- 
ings had been so offensive to her elders. 

The exercises in the Chapel were for the most part 
in Latin. My father addressed the President in that 
language, repeating a composition upon which he 
somewhat prided himself, for Dr. Beck, after making 
two verbal corrections in his manuscript, had declared 
it to be as good Latin as a man need write. Then 
we had some more Latin from young Mr. Francis 



364 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

Bowen, of the senior class, a gentleman whose name 
has since been associated with so much fine and 
weighty English. There were also a few modest 
words, presumably in the vernacular, though scarcely 
audible, from the recipient of the doctorate. 

But it has already been intimated that there were 
two Jacksons who were at that time making the tour 
of New England. One was the person whom I have 
endeavored to describe ; the other may be called the 
Jackson of comic myth, whose adventures were mi- 
nutely set forth by Mr. Jack Downing and his brother 
humorists. The Harvard degree, as bestowed upon 
this latter personage, offered a situation which the 
chroniclers of the grotesque could in no wise resist. 
A hint of Downing was seized upon and expanded 
as it flew from mouth to mouth, until, at last, it has 
actually been met skulking near the back door of 
history in a form something like this. General Jack- 
son, upon being harangued in Latin, found himself 
in a position of immense perplexity. It was simply 
decent for him to reply in the learned language in 
which he was addressed ; but, alas ! the Shakespearian 
modicum of " small Latin " was all that Old Hickory 
possessed, and what he must do was clearly to rise 
to the situation and make the most of it. There were 
those college fellows, chuckling over his supposed 
humiliation ; but they were to meet a man who was 
not to be caught in the classical trap they had set for 
him. Eising to his feet just at the proper moment, 
the new Doctor of Laws astonished the assembly 
with a Latin address, in which Dr. Beck himself was 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 365 

unable to discover a single error. A brief quotation 
from this eloquent production will be sufficient to 
exhibit its character : " Caveat emptor : corpus delicti : 
ex post facto : dies irae : e pluribus unum : usque ad 
nauseam : Ursa Major : sic semper tyrannis : quid 
pro quo : requiescat in pace." Now this foolery was 
immensely taking in the day of it; and mimics were 
accustomed to throw social assemblies into paroxysms 
of delight by imitating Jackson in the delivery of his 
Latin speech. The story was, on the whole, so good, 
as showing how the man of the people could triumph 
over the crafts and subtleties of classical pundits, 
that all Philistia wanted to believe it. And so it 
came to pass that, as time went on, part of Philistia 
did believe it, for I have heard it mentioned as an 
actual occurrence by persons who may not shrink 
from a competitive examination in history whenever 
government offices are to be entered through that 
portal. Human annals get muddied by the wits, as 
well as by the sentimentalists. Some taking rhap- 
sody, be it of humor or fancy, is flung in the direc- 
tion of an innocent mortal, and the best historian 
cannot wash him quite clean of it. Vainly, I fear, 
does Mr. Samuel Ptoads, Jr., prove to the readers of 
his book that the "horrd horrt" of Skipper Ireson 
may have been quite as tender as Mr. Whittier's, and 
that " the women of Marblehead " were presumably 
in bed when that unlucky mariner took his dismal 
ride through their town. Ah ! Mr. Phillips, let us 
not altogether despise the poor "fribbles" who keep 
journals. They do manage to keep a few myths out 



366 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

of history, after all. For in spite of the matchless 
oration we listened to the other day, 1 I venture to 
advise my younger readers to make some record of 
what they see and learn. It improves the observing 
powers, strengthens the memory, and impresses life's 
lessons upon the mind. * You can count on the fin- 
gers of your two hands all the robust minds that 
have kept journals," says my eminent friend. Well, 
perhaps you can ; but I think it might require all the 
hands of Briareus to number the robust minds that 
have lamented that they took no written note of the 
scenes and persons among which they passed. Most 
pathetic in its regret was the language I have heard 
from Judge Story and other first-class men respecting 
this omission. It has rung in my ears when, tired 
and full of business, I was disposed to shirk the task. 
So let us possess our souls in patience even if our 
"sixpenny neighbor" is keeping a journal. "Be- 
spectable mediocrity" though he be, he may prove 
a check upon some future orator as charming as 
Mr. Phillips, — but, alas, far less scrupulous, — whose 
instinct for rhetorical effect might tempt him to 
turn some wholesome human biography into a pane- 
gyric or a satire. Surely any competent historian 
may discern whether a given diary reflects the un- 
changeable heavens, or only the fogs which shut in 
the writer of it. Whoever mistook BoswelTs judg- 
ments for the judgments of anybody but Boswell ; yet 
who would give up the scenes and characters which 

1 See the Phi Beta Kappa oration by Wendell Phillips, June 30, 
1881. 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 367 

that note-book of his so exquisitely photographs ? 
It is Arthur Helps who says that poor " sixpenny " 
Pepys has given us "the truest book that ever was 
written ; " — no slight praise this, as it seems to me. 
But let not the reader fear that any chronicles of 
mine shall be catalogued among the diaries and jour- 
nals from which Mr. Phillips would deliver us. I 
have taken stringent measures to secure him and 
his posterity from so great a calamity. 

To return to the real Jackson, who held what 
Dickens says Americans call a le-vee, after the ex- 
ercises in the chapel. He stood at one end of the 
low parlor of the President's house, and bowed to 
the students as they passed him. "I am most 
happy to see you, gentlemen," he said ; " I wish you 
all much happiness ; " " Gentlemen, I heartily wish 
you success in life ; " and so on, constantly varying 
the phrase, which was always full of feeling. The 
President had begun his reception by offering his 
hand to all who approached ; but he found that this 
would soon drain the small strength which must 
carry him through the day. He afterward made an 
exception in favor of two pretty children, daughters 
of Dr. Palfrey. He took the hands of these little 
maidens, and then lifted them up and kissed them. 
It was a pleasant sight, — one not to be omitted when 
the events of the day were put upon paper. This 
rough soldier, exposed all his life to those tempta- 
tions which have conquered public men whom we 
still call good, could kiss little children with lips 
as pure as their own. 



368 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

From Cambridge we drove to Charlestown, where 
we had an address from Mr. Everett, a climb to the 
top of the unfinished monument, two weary hours 
of processioning about the town, and the inevitable 
collation. These unexpected performances greatly 
fatigued the feeble President, and spoiled the pro- 
gramme I had arranged for the day. He would go 
through it all, despite the remonstrances of his party. 
" These people have made their arrangements to wel- 
come me," he said, " and so long as I am not on my 
back I will gratify them." We were, accordingly, 
some hours behind time when we reached Lynn, and 
here it was evident to us all that Jackson must lie 
upon his back during our stay in the town. To bed 
he was accordingly put for an hour or two, while his 
Cabinet and suite did such justice as they could to 
the noble feast which had been provided in his honor. 
But, alas ! we had already had three periods of feed- 
ing that very day, and two more were in prospect 
before its close. Oh for that happy device of the 
leathern bag, with which Jack the Giant-Killer was 
accustomed to increase his capacity before accepting 
the hospitalities of his Cyclopean enemies, and which 
prevented the killing to be done from going the wrong 
way. Fifty years ago such an expedient would have 
been a mercy to greatness upon its travels, as well as 
to the insignificancies following in its wake. Let me 
note one step away from barbarism which has cer- 
tainly been taken since my youth. It now seems 
possible to decline meats and drinks, when one has 
no occasion for them, without injuring the feelings 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 369 

or reflecting upon the cookery of those who [offer 
them. 

We allowed the President all the repose he thought 
necessary, and then pressed on to Marblehead, a town 
overwhelmingly Democratic and so holding itself to 
have undoubted claims upon General Jackson. Prep- 
arations for a grand banquet had of course been 
made, and great was the indignation when, after a 
brief pause, I gave the order to proceed on our way 
and leave the viands untasted. The fact was that the 
President's indisposition had so increased that it was 
impossible for us to remain, and it was in accordance 
with his request that we made all speed for Salem. 
Some days after I was served with a copy of a local 
journal, with a marked paragraph, in which a certain 
conceited fellow, in epaulets, who was ordering about 
the President of the United States, was severely 
dealt with, and was strongly advised never to show 
his face again in Marblehead, as there was no telling 
what treatment he might receive at the hands of an 
outraged people. I have, however, dared to lecture in 
that interesting old town, and somehow managed to 
escape the popular fury with which I was threatened. 

We had an anxious drive to Salem, as the Presi- 
dent was becoming weaker every moment. On reach- 
ing the town, I ordered all formalities of reception to 
be cut from the programme and hurried to the hotel 
by the shortest route. I felt relieved of a burden of 
responsibility when Jackson was safe in bed and un- 
der the direction of proper medical attendants. But 
a procession had been organized and had been long 



370 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

waiting our appearance, to trail its colors and trap* 
pings about the streets of the town. We did not 
think of telegraphing the President's condition from 
Charlestown, or even of sending a messenger by the 
railroad to tell the Salem people to postpone their 
celebration. Do not judge us harshly, you young 
people, who have been born into a world which is run 
by steam, electricity, and newspaper extras. If Ham- 
let is to be left out of the play, the little omission 
is well advertised beforehand, and those who take no 
interest in the rest of the characters have the option of 
staying at home. But we were living before the days 
when everybody knows everything which is going on 
in the world, and for us there was nothing to be done 
but to go through a grand Jackson reception, without 
any Jackson. After some delay the Presidential 
barouche, Mr. Van Buren and myself now occupying 
the back seat thereof, was got into its place in the or- 
der of march. It was now verging toward dark, and 
a clamorous welcome was accorded to that barouche, 
as it followed the band about the streets. Indeed, 
the immense interest we excited soon forced upon me 
the very unpleasant conviction that the aide-de-camp 
of the Governor of Massachusetts was passing for 
the President of the United States. And naturally 
enough, too ; for there was really no way of inform- 
ing the crowd that Jackson was necessarily absent 
from his ovation, and it seemed clear to them that 
the person in the cocked hat, with gold lace trim- 
mings, who was riding by the side of the Vice-Presi- 
dent could be no other than their favorite general. The 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 371 

situation was awkward enough. I could only ride 
bolt upright, gazing stolidly at vacancy, and urge 
Mr. Van Buren to accept the applause as his personal 
dues and to bow graciously right and left ; but this 
the modest gentleman was very loath to do, for it was 
obvious that the bursts of enthusiasm were never in- 
tended for him. We were both glad enough to get out 
of a preposterous scrape, which a few clicks of the 
modern telegraph would have enabled us to avoid. 

No person who had seen the collapsed condition 
in which the President was deposited at the hotel 
would have imagined that he could resume his trav- 
els the next day; and it was, undoubtedly, by an 
exertion of the will of which only the exceptional 
man is capable that he was able to do so. But the 
art of mastering the physical nature was familiar to 
Jackson, who had gone through the fatigues of gen- 
eralship in the field when supported only by a few 
grains of rice. An immaterial something flashed 
through his eye as he greeted us in the breakfast- 
room, and it was evident that the faltering body was 
again held in subjection. After a brief visit to the 
East India Museum, we set off for Andover. The 
weather was perfect. The President was brighter 
than I had yet seen him, and well disposed to talk. 
" And now, General," said Mr. Van Buren, when we 
were fairly on our way, " tell us all about the battle 
of New Orleans, whereof, like Desdemona, by parcels 
I have something heard, but not intentively." And 
the hero of that wonderful fight, occasionally stimu- 
lated by a few questions, gave us the story as he 



372 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

remembered it. It was, undoubtedly, the most inter- 
esting narrative I ever heard, and my journal pre- 
serves — not one word of it. Upon one point only 
my memory is distinct. Jackson certainly asserted 
that the watchword " Booty and Beauty " had been 
given by General Packenham, — asserted it as if it 
were a fact within his personal knowledge ; yet we 
know he was mistaken, as his admirable biographer, 
Mr. Parton, has conclusively shown. 

How inexplicable are the freaks of memory ! It 
relaxes its hold upon things we would gladly recall, 
and then offers us some wretched trifle, as if it were 
a golden proverb into which the world's wisdom had 
been distilled. While I cannot give a sentence 
from Jackson's thrilling story of the battle, I can 
quote verbatim a scrap of after-dinner talk which oc 
curred after we had partaken of the Andover colla- 
tion and were driving toward Lowell. The day was 
growing sultry and the Vice-President began to nod. 
" Jackson (slapping his neighbor on the knee). Why, 
sir, are you going to sleep ? Van Buren. Well, 
yes. On a warm day, after dinner, it is my habit to 
catch a nap. Jackson. That argues that you pos- 
sess a more peaceful conscience than your political 
adversaries give you credit for. Van Buren. You are 
right, sir. It argues not only a quiet conscience, but 
an unambitious mind." How is it that I can repeat 
that poor bit of chaff, word for word, giving the 
reader (if a telephone only connected us) the very 
intonations of the interlocutors, while I can furnish 
no fragment of most interesting matter, which he 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 373 

would be as glad to hear as I should to recall? 
"Accept a miracle in place of wit," says the most 
perfect epigram in the English language. In place of 
Jackson's account of the battle of New Orleans I must 
ask the reader to accept a puzzle in mnemonics. 

General Jackson, the unscrupulous, did have a few 
scruples after all. " Constitutional scruples " was the 
name he gave them, and they had something to do 
with a protective tariff. Now the manufacturing 
town of Lowell, or rather the wealthy men who con- 
ducted it, had one ineradicable prejudice, and held 
in abhorrence a certain detestable heresy known as 
Free Trade. The meeting of mighty opposites is not 
always so dangerous to baser natures as Hamlet con- 
sidered it. On the contrary, the aforesaid opposites 
will sometimes try to capture one another by elegant 
blandishments, which are not without delight to the 
baser natures who are looking on. Lowell did her 
veiy best to captivate the President, and prepared 
such a show in his honor as nobody but the Queen 
of the Amazons ever saw before. Passing beneath tri- 
umphal arches of evergreen, the President was sum- 
moned to review an army of nice, intelligent American 
young women. Some said there were three thousand, 
some declared there were five thousand, of these fresh, 
good-looking girls. I was much too dazed to think 
of counting them. All or most of them were em- 
ployed in the mills, and all wore snow-white dresses, 
with sashes of bright color. Happily, too, they were 
bareheaded ; for the bonnet of the period was a hid- 
eous monstrosity, a proper companion for that mascu- 



374 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

line section-of-stove-pipe hat, which even to this 
day demonstrates the great doctrine of the survival 
of the unfittest. The fair army bore parasols, instead 
of muskets, and most of these were green parasols ; 
but the costumers of the pageant came to the Presi- 
dent lamenting that all the parasols were not green. 
They had done their best, they said. Boston had 
been ransacked in vain, and New York was in those 
days far too distant to be drawn upon. But when 
these same parasols were waved in graceful salute, 
as the bearers passed before their Chief Magistrate, 
Jackson's enthusiasm mounted high, and he was 
pleased to say that this distressing variation in color 
did not mar his satisfaction with the scene. And 
well might Old Hickory be delighted with the sight 
of those bright, self-respecting daughters of Ameri- 
can yeomanry, who wrought so cheerfully with the 
machinery of the mills. Alas ! it was a sight not 
soon to be repeated among men. Not until wise 
forms of co-operation shall solve the labor problem 
which now perplexes the world can any successor of 
Jackson be received by such operatives in a manu- 
facturing town. 

Lowell certainly treated our party very handsomely. 
One of the mills was set going for our benefit, and we 
were generously dined in the evening. Jackson was 
evidently much impressed with what he had seen, 
and, indeed, talked of little else till we reached the 
State line, about noon the next day. He took leave 
of me with hearty cordiality. " Come and see me at 
the White House ; or, better still, at the Hermitage, 



JACKSON IN MASSACHUSETTS. 375 

if I live to return to it." I left him feeling that he 
had moderated his views, and would be a wiser Pres- 
ident than he had been. The astounding measure 
known as the Eemoval of the Deposits soon dissi- 
pated these hopeful fancies. The transference of the 
national money to the " Pet Banks " produced tempo- 
rary inflation, to be followed by years of utter business 
stagnation. Never again could President Jackson 
have been warmly welcomed to Massachusetts. 

One more incident shall conclude this paper. At 
the New Hampshire line I met a young gentleman, 
who was acting as aid to the Governor of that State, 
and had come to escort the President through his 
dominions. There was time for quite a little talk 
between us, and he was curious to know all the par- 
ticulars of our progress through the Bay State. I 
told him what I could remember, not forgetting that 
very awkward ride through Salem, when I was mis- 
taken for the Head of the Nation. I did not add : 
" Now, if you happen to pass for the President of the 
United States, there will be no embarrassment what- 
ever. It will anticipate history a little ; that is all ! ' 
I did not say this, for who does say the right thing 
just at the right moment ? I wonder what Mr. 
Franklin Pierce would have thought of the remark, 
had it occurred to me to make it ! 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 



TT is by no means improbable that some future 
*■■ text-book, for the use of generations yet unborn, 
will contain a question something like this : What 
historical American of the nineteenth century has 
exerted the most powerful influence upon the des- 
tinies of his countrymen ? And it is by no means 
impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may 
be thus written : Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet. 
And the reply, absurd as it doubtless seems to 
most men now living, may be an obvious common- 
place to their descendants. History deals in sur- 
prises and paradoxes quite as startling as this. The 
man who established a religion in this age of free 
debate, who was and is to-day accepted by hundreds 
of thousands as a direct emissary from the Most High, 
— such a rare human being is not to be disposed of 
by pelting his memory with unsavory epithets. Fa- 
natic, impostor, charlatan, he may have been; but 
these hard names furnish no solution to the problem 
he presents to us. Fanatics and impostors are living 
and dying every day, and their memory is buried 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 377 

with them ; but the wonderful influence which this 
founder of a religion exerted and still exerts throws 
him into relief before us, not as a rogue to be crimi- 
nated, but as a phenomenon to be explained. The 
most vital questions Americans are asking each other 
to-day have to do with this man and what he has 
left us. Is there any remedy heroic enough to meet 
the case, yet in accordance with our national doc- 
trines of liberty and toleration, which can be applied 
to the demoralizing doctrines now advanced by the 
sect which he created ? The possibilities of the 
Mormon system are unfathomable. Polygamy may 
be followed by still darker u revelations." Here is a 
society resting upon foundations which may at any 
moment be made subversive of every duty which we 
claim from the citizen. Must it be reached by that 
last argument which quenched the evil fanaticisms of 
Mulhausen and Minister ? A generation other than 
mine must deal with these questions. Burning ques- 
tions they are, which must give a prominent place 
in the history of the country to that sturdy self- 
asserter whom I visited at Nauvoo. Joseph Smith, 
claiming to be an inspired teacher, faced adversity 
such as few men have been called to meet, enjoyed 
a brief season of prosperity such as few men have 
ever attained, and, finally, forty-three days after I 
saw him, went cheerfully to a martyr's death. When 
he surrendered his person to Governor Ford, in order 
to prevent the shedding of blood, the prophet had a 
presentiment of what was before him. " I am going 
like a lamb to the slaughter," he is reported to have 



378 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

said ; " but I am as calm as a summer's morning. I 
have a conscience void of offence and shall die inno- 
cent." I have no theory to advance respecting this 
extraordinary man. I shall simply give the facts of 
my intercourse with him. At some future time they 
may be found to have some bearing upon the theories 
of others who are more competent to make them. 
Ten closely written pages of my journal describe my 
impressions of Nauvoo, and of its prophet, mayor, 
general, and judge; but details, necessarily omitted 
in the diary, went into letters addressed to friends at 
home, and I shall use both these sources to make my 
narrative as complete as possible. I happened to 
visit Joseph Smith in company with a distinguished 
gentleman, who, if rumor may be trusted, has been 
as conscientious a journal- writer as was his father. 
It is not impossible that my record may one day 
be supplemented by that of my fellow-traveller, the 
Hon. Charles Francis Adams. 

It was on the 25th of April, 1844, that Mr. Adams 
and myself left Boston for the journey to the West 
which we had had for some time in contemplation. 
I omit all account of our adventures — and a very 
full account of them is before me — until the 14th 
of May, when we are ascending the clear, sparkling 
waters of the Upper Mississippi in the little steam- 
boat " Amaranth." With one exception we find our 
fellow-passengers uninteresting. The exception is 
Dr. Goforth. A chivalric, yet simple personage is 
this same doctor, who has served under General 
Jackson at the battle of New Orleans and is now 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 379 

going to Nauvoo, to promote the election of the just 
nominated Henry Clay. It is to tkis gentleman we 
owe our sight of the City of the Saints, which, 
strangely enough, we had not intended to visit. 
Though far from being a Mormon himself, Dr. Goforth 
told us much that was good and interesting about 
this strange people. He urged us to see for ourselves 
the result of the singular political system which had 
been fastened upon Christianity, and to make the 
acquaintance of his friend, General Smith, the reli- 
gious and civil autocrat of the community. "We 
agreed to stop at Nauvoo," says my journal, "pro- 
vided some conveyance should be found at the land- 
ing which would take us up to General Smith's tavern, 
and prepared our baggage for this contingency. Owing 
to various delays, we did not reach the landing till 
nearly midnight, when our friend, who had jumped 
on shore the moment the boat stopped, returned with 
the intelligence that no carriage was to be had, and 
so we bade him adieu, to go on our way. But, as we 
still lingered upon the hurricane deck, he shouted 
that there was a house on the landing, where we 
could get a good bed. This changed our destiny, and 
just at the last moment we hurried on shore. Here 
we found that the ' good bed ' our friend had prom- 
ised us was in an old mill, which had been converted 
into an Irish shanty. However, we made the best of 
it, and, having dispossessed a cat and a small army 
of cockroaches of their quarters on the coverlet, 
we lay down in our dressing-gowns and were soon 
asleep." 



380 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

We left our lowly bed in the gray light of the 
morning, to find the rain descending in torrents and 
the roads knee-deep in mud. Intelligence of our 
arrival had in some mysterious manner reached Gen- 
eral Smith, and the prophet's own chariot, a comfort- 
able carryall, drawn by two horses, soon made its 
appearance. It is probable that we owed the alacrity 
with which we were served to an odd blunder which 
had combined our names and personalities and set 
forth that no less a man than ex-President John 
Quincy Adams had arrived to visit Mr. Joseph Smith. 
Happily, however, Dr. Goforth, who had got upon the 
road before us, divided our persons and reduced them 
to their proper proportions, so that no trace of disap- 
pointment was visible in the group of rough-looking 
Mormons who awaited our descent at the door of the 
tavern. It was a three-story frame house, set back 
from the street and surrounded by a white fence, that 
we had reached after about two miles of the muddiest 
driving. Pre-eminent among the stragglers by the 
door stood a man of commanding appearance, clad in 
the costume of a journeyman carpenter when about 
his work. He was a hearty, athletic fellow, with 
blue eyes standing prominently out upon his light 
complexion, a long nose, and a retreating forehead. 
He wore striped pantaloons, a linen jacket, which 
had not lately seen the washtub, and a beard of 
some three days' growth. This was the founder of 
the religion which had been preached in every quar- 
ter of the earth. As Dr. Goforth introduced us to 
the prophet, he mentioned the parentage of my com- 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 381 

panion. " God bless you, to begin with ! " said Joseph 
Smith, raising his hands in the air and letting them 
descend upon the shoulders of Mr. Adams. The 
benediction, though evidently sincere, had an odd 
savor of what may be called official familiarity, such 
as a crowned head might adopt on receiving the heir 
presumptive of a friendly court. The greeting to me 
was cordial — with that sort of cordiality with which 
the president of a college might welcome a deserving 
janitor — and a blessing formed no part of it. "And 
now come, both of you, into the house ! " said our 
host, as, suiting the action to the word, he ushered 
us across the threshold of his tavern. 

A fine-looking man is what the passer-by would 
instinctively have murmured upon meeting the re- 
markable individual who had fashioned the mould 
which was to shape the feelings of so many thousands 
of his fellow-mortals. But Smith was more than 
this, and one could not resist the impression that 
capacity and resource were natural to his stalwart 
person. I have already mentioned the resemblance 
he bore to Elisha E. Potter, of Rhode Island, whom 
I met in Washington in 1826. The likeness was 
not such as would be recognized in a picture, but 
rather one that would be felt in a grave emergency. 
Of all men I have met, these two seemed best en- 
dowed with that kingly faculty which directs, as by 
intrinsic right, the feeble or confused souls who are 
looking for guidance. This it is just to say with 
emphasis; for the reader will find so much that is 
puerile and even shocking in my report of the 



382 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

prophet's conversation that he might never suspect 
the impression of rugged power that was given by 
the man. 

On the right hand, as we entered the house, was a 
small and very comfortless-looking bar-room ; all the 
more comfortless, perchance, from its being a dry 
bar-room, as no spirituous liquors were permitted at 
Nauvoo. In apparent search for more private quar- 
ters, the prophet opened the door of a room on the 
left. He instantly shut it again, but not before I 
perceived that the obstacle to our entrance was its 
prior occupancy by a woman, in bed. He then ran 
up-stairs, calling upon us to follow him, and, throw- 
ing open a door in the second story, disclosed three 
Mormons in three beds. This was not satisfactory ; 
neither was the next chamber, which was found, on 
inspection, to contain two sleeping disciples. The 
third attempt was somewhat more fortunate, for we 
had found a room which held but a single bed and a 
single sleeper. Into this apartment we were invited 
to enter. Our host immediately proceeded to the 
bed, and drew the clothes well over the head of its 
occupant. He then called a man to make a fire, and 
begged us to sit down. Smith then began to talk 
about himself and his people, as, of course, we en- 
couraged him to do. He addressed his words to 
Mr. Adams oftener than to me, evidently thinking 
that this gentleman had or was likely to have polit- 
ical influence, which it was desirable to conciliate. 
Whether by subtle tact or happy accident, he intro- 
duced us to Mormonism as a secular institution 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 383 

before stating its monstrous claims as a religious sys- 
tem. Polygamy, it must be remembered, formed no 
part of the alleged revelations upon which the social 
life at Nauvoo was based ; indeed, the recorded pre- 
cepts of its prophet were utterly opposed to such a 
practice, and it is, at least, doubtful whether this 
barbarism was in any way sanctioned by Smith. Let 
a man who has so much to answer for be allowed the 
lull benefit of the doubt ; and Mormonism, minus the 
spiritual wife system, had, as it has to-day, much that 
was interesting in its secular aspects. Its founder 
told us what he had accomplished and the terrible 
persecutions through which he had brought his peo- 
ple. He spoke with bitterness of outrages to which 
they had been subjected in Missouri, and implied 
that the wanton barbarities of his lawless enemies 
must one day be atoned for. He spoke of the indus- 
trial results of his autocracy in the holy city we were 
visiting, and of the extraordinary powers of its charter, 
obtained through his friend, Governor Ford. The 
past had shown him that a military organization was 
necessary. He was now at the head of three thou- 
sand men, equipped by the State of Illinois and be- 
longing to its militia, and the Saints were prepared 
to fight as well as to work. " I decided," said Smith, 
"that the commander of my troops ought to be a 
lieutenant-general, and I was, of course, chosen to 
that position. I sent my certificate of election to 
Governor Ford, and received in return a commission 
of lieutenant-general of the Nauvoo Legion and of 
the militia of the State of Illinois. Now, on exam- 



384 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

ining the Constitution of the United States, I find 
that an o nicer must be tried by a court-martial com- 
posed of his equals in rank; and as I am the only 
lieutenant-general in the country, I think they will 
find it pretty hard to try me." 

At this point breakfast was announced, and a sub- 
stantial meal was served in a long back kitchen. We 
sat down with about thirty persons, some of them 
being in their shirt-sleeves, as if just come from work. 
There was no going out, as the rain still fell in tor- 
rents ; and so, when we had finished breakfast, the 
prophet (who had exchanged his working dress for a 
broadcloth suit while we lingered at the table) pro- 
posed to return to the chamber we had quitted, 
where he would give us his views of theology. The 
bed had been made during our absence and the fire 
plentifully replenished. Our party was now in- 
creased by the presence of the patriarch, Hiram 
Smith ; Dr. Richards, of Philadelphia, who seemed 
to be a very modest and respectable Mormon ; Dr. 
Goforth ; and a Methodist minister, whose name I 
have not preserved. No sooner were we seated than 
there entered some half-dozen leaders of the sect, 
among whom, I think, were Rigdon and Young ; but 
of their presence I cannot be positive. These men 
constituted a sort of silent chorus during the expo- 
sitions of their chief. They fixed a searching, yet 
furtive gaze upon Mr. Adams and myself, as if 
eager to discover how we were impressed by what 
we heard. Of the wild talk that we listened to I 
have preserved but a few fragments. Smith was 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 385 

well versed in the letter of the Scriptures, though he 
had little comprehension of their spirit. He began 
by denying the doctrine of the Trinity, and sup- 
ported his views by the glib recitation of a num- 
ber of texts. From this he passed to his own 
claims to special inspiration, quoting with great 
emphasis the eleventh and twelfth verses of the 
fourth chapter of Ephesians, which, in his eyes, 
adumbrated the whole Mormon hierarchy. The de- 
grees and orders of ecclesiastical dignitaries he set 
forth with great precision, being careful to mention 
the interesting revelation which placed Joseph Smith 
supreme above them all. This information was 
plentifully besprinkled with cant phrases or homely 
proverbs. " There, I have proved that point as 
straight as a loon's leg." " The curses of my enemies 
run off from me like water from a duck's back." 
Such are the specimens which my journal happens 
to preserve, but the exposition was constantly gar- 
nished with forcible vulgarisms of a similar sort. 
The prophet referred to his miraculous gift of under- 
standing all languages, and took down a Bible in 
various tongues, for the purpose of exhibiting his 
accomplishments in this particular. Our position 
as guests prevented our testing his powers by a 
rigid examination, and the rendering of a few familiar 
texts seemed to be accepted by his followers as a 
triumphant demonstration of his abilities. It may 
have been an accident, but I observed that the bulk 
of his translations were from the Hebrew, which, 
presumably, his visitors did not understand, rather 

25 



386 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

than from the classical languages, in which they 
might more easily have caught him tripping. 

" And now come with me," said the prophet, " and 
I will show you the curiosities." So saying, he led 
the way to a lower room, where sat a venerable 
and respectable-looking lady. " This is my mother, 
gentlemen. The curiosities we shall see belong to 
her. They were purchased with her own money, at 
a cost of six thousand dollars ; " and then, with deep 
feeling, were added the words, "And that woman was 
turned out upon the prairie in the dead of night by 
a mob." There were some pine presses fixed against 
the wall of the room. These receptacles Smith 
opened, and disclosed four human bodies, shrunken 
and black with age. w These are mummies," said the 
exhibitor. " I want you to look at that little runt 
of a fellow over there. He was a great man in his 
day. Why, that was Pharaoh Necho, King of 
Egypt ! " Some parchments inscribed with hiero- 
glyphics were then offered us. They were preserved 
under glass and handled with great respect. " That 
is the handwriting of Abraham, the Father of the 
Faithful," said the prophet. " This is the autograph 
of Moses, and these lines were written by his brother 
Aaron. Here we have the earliest account of the 
Creation, from which Moses composed the First 
Book of Genesis." The parchment last referred to 
showed a rude drawing of a man and woman, and 
a serpent walking upon a pair of legs. I ventured 
to doubt the propriety of providing the reptile in 
question with this unusual means of locomotion. 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 387 

" Why, that 's as plain as a pikestaff," was the re- 
joinder. "Before the Fall snakes always went 
about on legs, just like chickens. They were de- 
prived of them, in punishment for their agency in 
the ruin of man." We were further assured that the 
prophet was the only mortal who could translate 
these mysterious writings, and that his power was 
given by direct inspiration. 

It is well known that Joseph Smith was accus- 
tomed to make his revelations point to those sturdy 
business habits which lead to prosperity in this 
present life. He had little enough of that unmixed 
spiritual power which flashed out from the spare, 
neurasthenic body of Andrew Jackson. The proph- 
et's hold upon you seemed to come from the bal- 
ance and harmony of temperament which reposes 
upon a large physical basis. No association with 
the sacred phrases of Scripture could keep the in- 
spirations of this man from getting down upon the 
hard pan of practical affairs. " Verily I say unto 
you, let my servant, Sidney Gilbert, plant himself 
in this place and establish a store." So had run one 
of his revelations, in which no holier spirit than that 
of commerce is discernible. The exhibition of these 
august relics concluded with a similar descent into 
the hard modern world of fact. Monarchs, patriarchs, 
and parchments were very well in their way ; but 
this was clearly the nineteenth century, when proph- 
ets must get a living and provide for their rela- 
tions. " Gentlemen'' said this bourgeois Mohammed, 
as he closed the cabinets, M those who see these curiosi- 
ties generally pay my mother a quarter of a dollar!' 



388 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 



II. 



The clouds had parted when we emerged from 
the chamber of curiosities, and there was time to see 
the Temple before dinner. General Smith ordered a 
capacious carriage, and we drove to that beautiful 
eminence, bounded on three sides by the Mississippi, 
which was covered by the holy city of Nauvoo. The 
curve in the river enclosed a position lovely enough 
to furnish a site for the Utopian communities of 
Plato or Sir Thomas More ; and here was an orderly 
city, magnificently laid out, and teeming with activity 
and enterprise. And all the diligent workers, who 
had reared these handsome stores and comfortable 
dwellings, bowed in subjection to the man to whose 
unexampled absurdities we had listened that morn- 
ing. Not quite unexampled either. For many years 
I held a trusteeship which required me to be a fre- 
quent visitor at the McLean Asylum for the Insane. 
I had talked with some of its unhappy inmates, vic- 
tims of the sad but not uncommon delusion that each 
had received the appointment [of vicegerent of the 
Deity upon earth. It is well known that such unfor- 
tunates, if asked to explain their confinement, have a 
ready reply : " I am sane. The rest of the world is mad, 
and the majority is against me." It was like a dream 
to find one's self moving through a prosperous commu- 
nity, where the repulsive claim of one of these pre- 
tenders was respectfully acknowledged. It was said 
that Prince Hamlet had no need to recover his wits 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 389 

when he was despatched to England, for the de- 
mented denizens of that island would never detect 
his infirmity. If the blasphemous assumptions of 
Smith seemed like the ravings of a lunatic, he had, 
at least, brought them to a market where " all the 
people were as mad as he." Near the entrance to 
the Temple we passed a workman who was laboring 
upon a huge sun, which he had chiselled from the 
solid rock. The countenance was of the negro type, 
and it was surrounded by the conventional rays. 

" General Smith," said the man, looking up from 
his task, * is this like the face you saw in vision ? " 

" Very near it," answered the prophet, " except " 
(this was added with an air of careful connoisseurship 
that was quite overpowering) — " except that the 
nose is just a thought too broad." 

The Mormon Temple was not fully completed. It 
was a wonderful structure, altogether indescribable by 
me. Being, presumably, like something Smith had 
seen in vision, it certainly cannot be compared to any 
ecclesiastical building which may be discerned by 
the natural eyesight. It was built of limestone, and 
was partially supported by huge monolithic pillars, 
each costing, said the prophet, three thousand dollars. 
Then in the basement was the baptistery, which cen- 
tred in a mighty tank, surrounded by twelve wooden 
oxen of colossal size. These animals, we were as- 
sured, were temporary. They were to be replaced by 
stone oxen as fast as they could be made. The Tem- 
ple, odd and striking as it was, produced no effect that 
was commensurate with its cost. Perhaps it would 



390 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

have required a genius to have designed anything 
worthy of that noble site. The city of Nauvoo, with 
its wide streets sloping gracefully to the farms en- 
closed on the prairie, seemed to be a better temple to 
Him who prospers the work of industrious hands 
than the grotesque structure on the hill, with all its 
queer carvings of moons and suns. This, however, 
was by no means the opinion of the man whose fiat 
had reared the building. In a tone half-way between 
jest and earnest, and which might have been taken for 
either at the option of the hearer, the prophet put this 
inquiry : " Is not here one greater than Solomon, who 
built a Temple with the treasures of his father David 
and with the assistance of Huram, King of Tyre ? 
Joseph Smith has built his Temple with no one to 
aid him in the work." 

On returning to the tavern, dinner was served in 
the kitchen where we had breakfasted. The prophet 
carved at one end of the board, while some twenty 
persons, Mormons or travellers (the former mostly 
coatless), were scattered along its sides. At the close 
of a substantial meal a message was brought to the 
effect that the United States marshal had arrived 
and wished to speak to Mr. Adams. This officer, 
as it turned out, wanted my companion's advice 
about the capture of some criminal, for whom he had 
a warrant. The matter was one of some difficulty, 
for, the prophet being absolute in Nauvoo, no man 
could be arrested or held without his permission. I 
do not remember what was the outcome of this in- 
terview, which was so protracted that it caused Mr. 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 391 

Adams to miss one of the most notable exhibitions 
of the day. 

" General Smith/' said Dr. Goforth, when we had 
adjourned to the green in front of the tavern, " I 
think Mr. Quincy would like to hear you preach." 
u Then I shall be happy to do so," was the obliging 
reply ; and, mounting the broad step which led from 
the house, the prophet promptly addressed a sermon 
to the little group about him. Our numbers were 
constantly increased from the passers in the street, 
and a most attentive audience of more than a hun- 
dred persons soon hung upon every word of the 
speaker. The text was Mark xvi. 15, and the com- 
ments, though rambling and disconnected, were deliv- 
ered with the fluency and fervor of a camp-meeting 
orator. The discourse was interrupted several times 
by the Methodist minister before referred to, who 
thought it incumbent upon him to question the 
soundness of certain theological positions maintained 
by the speaker. One specimen of the sparring which 
ensued I thought worth setting down. The prophet 
is asserting that baptism for the remission of sins is 
essential for salvation. Minister. Stop ! What do 
you say to the case of the penitent thief ? Prophet. 
What do you mean by that ? Minister. You know our 
Saviour said to the thief, " This day shalt thou be 
with me in Paradise," which shows he could not have 
been baptized before his admission. Prophet. How 
do you know he was n't baptized before he became a 
thief ? At this retort the sort of laugh that is pro- 
voked by an unexpected hit ran through the audience ; 



392 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

but this demonstration of sympathy was rebuked by 
a severe look from Smith, who went on to say : " But 
that is not the true answer. In the original Greek, 
as this gentleman [turning to me] will inform you, 
the word that has been translated paradise means 
simply a place of departed spirits. To that place 
the penitent thief was conveyed, and there, doubtless, 
he received the baptism necessary for his admission 
to the heavenly kingdom." The other objections of 
his antagonist were parried with a similar adroitness, 
and in about fifteen minutes the prophet concluded a 
sermon which it was evident that his disciples had 
heard with the heartiest satisfaction. 

In the afternoon we drove to visit the farms upon 
the prairie which this enterprising people had enclosed 
and were cultivating with every appearance of suc- 
cess. On returning, we stopped in a beautiful grove, 
where there were seats and a platform for speaking. 
" When the weather permits," said Smith, " we hold 
our services in this place ; but shall cease to do so 
when the Temple is finished." " I suppose none but 
Mormon preachers are allowed in Nauvoo," said the 
Methodist minister, who had accompanied our expe- 
dition. " On the contrary," replied the prophet, " I 
shall be very happy to have you address my people 
next Sunday, and I will insure you a most attentive 
congregation." "What! do you mean that I may 
say anything I please and that you will make no 
reply ? " " You may certainly say anything you 
please ; but I must reserve the right of adding a word 
or two, if I judge best. I promise to speak of you in 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 393 

the most respectful manner." As we rode back, there 
was more dispute between the minister and Smith. 
" Come/' said the latter, suddenly slapping his antag- 
onist on the knee, to emphasize the production of a 
triumphant text, " if you can't argue better than that, 
you shall say all you want to say to my people, and 
I will promise to hold my tongue, for there 's not a 
Mormon among them who would need my assistance 
to answer you." Some back-thrust was evidently re- 
quired to pay for this ; and the minister, soon after, 
having occasion to allude to some erroneous doctrine 
which I forget, suddenly exclaimed, "Why, I told 
my congregation the other Sunday that they might 
as well believe Joe Smith as such theology as that." 
" Did you say Joe Smith in a sermon ? " inquired the 
person to whom the title had been applied. " Of 
course I did. Why not ?" The prophet's reply was 
given with a quiet superiority that was overwhelming : 
" Considering only the day and the place, it would 
have been more respectful to have said Lieutenant- 
General Joseph Smith." Clearly, the worthy minister 
was no match for the head of the Mormon church. 

I have before me some relics of my visit to Nauvoo. 
Here is the Book of Mormon, bearing the autograph 
which its alleged discoverer and translator wrote, at 
my request ; and here are some letters addressed to 
the same personage, which I came by strangely 
enough. I took them from a public basket of waste- 
paper, which was placed for the service of the 
inmates of the tavern. Three of these abandoned 
epistles I asked leave to keep as memorials of my 



394 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

visit, and no objection was made to my doing so. The 
most interesting of these letters is dated " Manchester, 
August 29, 1842," and comes from an English convert 
to Mormonism. The man writes four pages of gilt- 
edged paper to his " beloved brother in the Lord," and 
sends him by the favor of Elder Snider the follow- 
ing presents : " A hat, a black satin stock with front, 
and a brooch." He would fain join the prophet in 
Nauvoo ; but the way is blocked by that not-unheard- 
of obstacle, a mother-in-law, and until this excellent 
lady " falls asleep " the disciple must deny his eyes 
the sight of the master's face. The account of him- 
self given by this correspondent shows with what 
pathetic sincerity the divine commission of Smith 
was accepted by a class of men which would seem to 
be intellectually superior to so miserable a delusion. 
Suppressing the name of the writer, I shall give a 
portion of this letter, as it furnishes food for reflection, 
and shows that the secret of the Mormon prophet is 
not to be fathomed at a glance : — 

" I take the liberty of writing a few lines, being 
assured that you are a man of God and a prophet of 
the Most High, not only from testimony given by the 
brethren, but the Spirit itself beareth witness. It is 
true that mine eyes have not seen and mine ears 
heard you ; but the testimony I have received shows 
plainly that God does reveal by his Spirit things that 
the natural man has not seen by his natural eyes. 
You may perhaps wonder who the individual is that 
has written this letter. I will tell you, in a few 
words : My father died about twenty-four years since, 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 395 

leaving my mother a widow with seven children. . . . 
I remember her teachings well, which were these : 
Fear God, be strictly honest, and speak the truth. I 
remember, when about three or four years old, being 
with her in a shop. I saw a pin on the floor. I 
picked it up and gave it to her. She told me to 
give it to the shopman, with a sharp reprimand, show- 
ing me that it was a sin to take even a pin. The 
remembrance of this slight circumstance has followed 
me from that time to the present. [An account of 
the writer's conversion to Mormonism follows, after 
which he goes on thus.] Previously to joining this 
Church, I was a singer in the Church of England, 
had eight pounds a year, and a good situation in the 
week-time at a retail hat shop. My wife's brother 
told me I was robbing my children of their bread in 
giving up the eight pounds. I told him I was not 
dependent on that for bread, and said unto him the 
Lord could make up the difference. He laughed at 
me ; but, beloved brother, in about one month from 
the time I left the Church of England my master 
raised my wages four shillings a week (which was 
about one shilling per week more than that just sac- 
rificed), and this has continued on ever since, which 
is now two years this month, for which I thank the 
Lord, together with many other mercies." 

I have quoted enough to show what really good 
material Smith managed to draw into his net. Were 
such fish to be caught with Spaulding's tedious ro- 
mance and a puerile fable of undecipherable gold 
plates and gigantic spectacles ? Not these cheap and 



396 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

wretched properties, but some mastering force of the 
man who handled them, inspired the devoted mis- 
sionaries who worked such wonders. The remaining 
letters, both written a year previous to my visit, 
came from a certain Chicago attorney, who seems to 
have been the personal friend as well as the legal 
adviser of the prophet. With the legal advice come 
warnings of plots which enemies are preparing, and 
of the probability that a seizure of his person by secret 
ambush is contemplated. " They hate you," writes 
this friendly lawyer, " because they have done evil 
unto you. . . . My advice to you is not to sleep in 
your own house, but to have some place to sleep 
strongly guarded by your own friends, so that you 
can resist any sudden attempt that might be made 
to kidnap you in the night. When the Missourians 
come on this side and burn houses, depend upon it 
they will not hesitate to make the attempt to carry 
you away by force. Let me again caution you to be 
every moment upon your guard." The man to whom 
this letter was addressed had long been familiar with 
perils. For fourteen years he was surrounded by 
vindictive enemies, who lost no opportunity to harass 
him. He was in danger even when we saw him at 
the summit of his prosperity, and he was soon to seal 
his testimony — or, if you will, to expiate his impos- 
ture — by death at the hands of dastardly assassins. 
If these letters go little way toward interpreting the 
man, they suggest that any hasty interpretation of him 
is inadequate. 

I should not say quite all that struck me about 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NAUVOO. 397 

Smith if I did not mention that he seemed to have a 
keen sense of the humorous aspects of his position. 
" It seems to me, General," I said, as he was driving 
us to the river, about sunset, " that you have too much 
power to be safely trusted to one man." " In your 
hands or that of any other person," was the reply, 
" so much power would, no doubt, be dangerous. I 
am the only man in the world whom it would be 
safe to trust with it. Kemember, I am a prophet ! " 
The last five words were spoken in a rich, comical 
aside, as if in hearty recognition of the ridiculous 
sound they might have in the ears of a Gentile. I 
asked him to test his powers by naming the success- 
ful candidate in the approaching presidential election. 
" Well, I will prophesy that John Tyler will not be 
the next President, for some things are possible 
and some things are probable ; but Tyler's election 
is neither the one nor the other." We then went 
on to talk of politics. Smith recognized the curse 
and iniquity of slavery, though he opposed the 
methods of the Abolitionists. His plan was for 
the nation to pay for the slaves from the sale of the 
public lands. " Congress," he said, " should be com- 
pelled to take this course, by petitions from all 
parts of the country ; but the petitioners must dis- 
claim all alliance with those who would disturb 
the rights of property recognized by the Constitution 
and foment insurrection." It may be worth while to 
remark that Smith's plan was publicly advocated, 
eleven years later, by one who has mixed so much 
practical shrewdness with his lofty philosophy. In 



398 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

1855, when men's minds had been moved to their 
depths on the question of slavery, Mr. Ealph Waldo 
Emerson declared that it should be met in accordance 
" with the interest of the South and with the settled 
conscience of the North. It is not really a great 
task, a great fight for this country to accomplish, to 
buy that property of the planter, as the British na- 
tion bought the West Indian slaves." He further 
says that the " United States will be brought to give 
every inch of their public lands for a purpose like 
this." We, who can look back upon the terrible 
cost of the fratricidal war which put an end to 
slavery, now say that such a solution of the difficulty 
would have been worthy a Christian statesman. 
But if the retired scholar was in advance of his 
time when he advocated this disposition of the public 
property in 1855, what shall I say of the political 
and religious leader who had committed himself, in 
print, as well as in conversation, to the same course 
in 1844 ? If the atmosphere of men's opinions was 
stirred by such a proposition when war-clouds were 
discernible in the sky, was it not a statesmanlike 
word eleven years earlier, when the heavens looked 
tranquil and beneficent ? 

General Smith proceeded to unfold still further his 
views upon politics. He denounced the Missouri 
Compromise as an unjustifiable concession for the 
benefit of slavery. It was Henry Clay's bid for the 
presidency. Dr. Goforth might have spared himself 
the trouble of coming to Nauvoo to electioneer for 
a duellist who would fire at John Randolph, but was 



JOSEPH SMITH AT NATJVOO. 399 

not brave enough to protect the Saints in their rights 
as American citizens. Clay had told his people to 
go to the wilds of Oregon and set up a government 
of their own. Oh yes, the Saints might go into the 
wilderness and obtain justice of the Indians, which 
imbecile, time-serving politicians would not give 
them in the land of freedom and equality. The 
prophet then talked of the details of government. 
He thought that the number of members admitted 
to the Lower House of the National Legislature 
should be reduced. A crowd only darkened counsel 
and impeded business. A member to every half 
million of population would be ample. The powers 
of the President should be increased. He should 
have authority to put down rebellion in a state, with- 
out waiting for the request of any governor ; for it 
might happen that the governor himself would be 
the leader of the rebels. It is needless to remark 
how later events showed the executive weakness 
that Smith pointed out, — a weakness which cost 
thousands of valuable lives and millions of treasure ; 
but the man mingled Utopian fallacies with his 
shrewd suggestions. He talked as from a strong 
mind utterly unenlightened by the teachings of his- 
tory. Finally, he told us what he would do, were 
he President of the United States, and went on to 
mention that he might one day so hold the balance 
between parties as to render his election to that 
office by no means unlikely. 

Who can wonder that the chair of the National 
Executive had its place among the visions of this 



400 FIGURES OF THE PAST. 

self-reliant man ? He had already traversed the 
roughest part of the way to that coveted position. 
Born in the lowest ranks of poverty, without book- 
learning and with the homeliest of all human names, 
he had made himself at the age of thirty-nine a 
power upon earth. Of the multitudinous family of 
Smith, from Adam down (Adam of the " Wealth of 
Nations/' I mean), none had so won human hearts 
and shaped human lives as this Joseph. His in- 
fluence, whether for good or for evil, is potent to-day, 
and the end is not yet. 

I have endeavored to give the details of my visit 
to the Mormon prophet with absolute accuracy. If 
the reader does not know just what to make of 
Joseph Smith, I cannot help him out of the difficulty. 
I myself stand helpless before the puzzle. 



INDEX OF NAMES. 



A. 

Adams, Alvin, 346. 

Adams, Charles F., 378, 390. 

Adams, George, 21. 

Adams, Hannah, 328-333. 

Adams, John, 58-95, passim. 

Adams, Mrs. John, 61. 

Adams, John Q., 42, 72, 76, 260, 

290, 361. 
Amory, Rums Greene, 259. 
Anderson, Larz, 260, 261, 262. 
Archer, William S., 287, 288. 



B. 

Barnard, Hezekiah, 183. 
Barnwell, R. W., 16, 18, 50. 

Belmont, August, 171. 
Binney, John, 203. 
Black, Mrs., 77. 
Blake, George, 178. 
Bollman, Eric, 120. 
Bonaparte, Lucien, 299. 
Bowdltch, Nathaniel, 106. 
Bray, comic actor, 29. 
Brimmer, Martin, 291. 
Bryant, Lemuel, 94. 
Buchanan, James, 206. 
Bullett, Miss, 260, 301. 



Burnell, Barker, 180, 184. 
Byles, Mather, 71. 



C. 

Calhoun, J. C, 263, 264. 
Calhoun, Miss, 264. 
Carroll, Charles, 294, 295. 
Charming, W. E„ 303, 307-311. 
Cheverus, Cardinal, 311, 313. 
Claflin, Thomas J., 356. 
Clapham, Miss, 297. 
Clay, Henry, 215, 216, 398, 399. 
Cleaves, The Misses, 197. 
Coffin, Micajah, 184-187. 
Colt, Judge, 338. 
Cooper, Samuel, 169. 
Cooper, Thomas Apthorpe, 200. 
Craigie, Andrew, 25-27, passim. 
Cranch, William, 73. 
Cushing, Caleb, 52. 



D. 

De Britto, Captain, 247. 
Degrand, P. P. F., 350. 
Derby, R. C, 142. 
Dickinson, John, 78, 79. 
Dickinson, Miss Julia, 336. 
Dimmock, W. R., 95. 



26 



402 



INDEX OF NAMES. 



Dorr, Jonathan, 355. 
"Downing, Jack," 359. 
Dummer, Mrs. A. C, 197. 



E. 

Eliot, W. H., 112. 
Emerson, R. W., 16-18, 50, 398. 
Emmett, Thomas Addis, 250, 251. 
Everett, Edward, 23, 107-109, 

164, 166, 167. 
Everett, William, 95. 



F. 

Farrer, John, 23. 
Finn, Henry J., 145. 
Folger, William C, 185. 
Ford, Governor, 383. 



G. 

Gaillard, John, 216, 217. 
Gallatin, Albert, 260. 
Garcia, 301. 

Gardiner, J. S. J., 313-315. 
Gilbert, Sidney, 387. 
Gillespie, Miss Anna, 201. 
Goforth, Dr., 379, 391. 



H. 

Hall, David P., 97. 
Hamilton, Alexander, 81. 
Hancock, John, 94. 
Harnden, William F., 344, 345. 
Hayne, Robert Young, 226. 
Hedge, MissAbby, 176. 
Helen, Miss Mary, 68, 284. 
Helps, Arthur, 367. 
Henry, Patrick, 66. 
Henry, Mrs., 145. 
Henry, Miss, 145. 
Hill, Aaron, 185, 186. 
Hillhouse, James A., 141. 



Hoffman, Mrs. David, 268. 
Holley, Mrs. Hamilton, 201. 
Huger, Francis K., 113-126, pas- 
sim. 
Hughes, Christopher, 299. 
Hull, Isaac, 360. 



I. 



Incledon, 28. 



J. 



Jacksou, Andrew, 352-375, pas- 
sim. 
Jay, John, 81. 
Jefferson, Joseph, 204. 
Jefferson, Thomas, 242. 
Johnson, Miss, 297. 
Johnston, Josiah Stoddard, 220. 



K. 

Kean, Edmund, 30. 
Kent, Edward, 19. 
King, Charles, 260. 
Kirkland, John Thornton, 21. 
Knapp, John, 192, 193. 



L. 

Lafayette, Gen. G. M., 55-57, 

101-156, passim. 
Lafayette, G. W., 111. 
Lincoln, Levi, 127, 128, 174-187, 

passim. 
Livingston, Miss Cora, 269-273. 



M. 

Macduffie, George, 283-285. 
Maffitt, J. N., 305, 306. 
Marshall, Miss Emily, 334-337. 
Marshall, Judge, 242-244. 



INDEX OF NAMES. 



403 



Mason, John Y., 155. 
McCobb, Mr., 182. 
Mitchell, Aaron, 182. 
Mitchell, S. L., 140. 
Moniac, 92. 

N. 
Norton, Rev. Mr., 304. 



O. 

Oliver, Robert, 293. 

Otis, George, 42. 

Otis, H. G., 47, 316-321. 



P. 

Palfrey, J. G., 110. 
Parker, Daniel P., 363. 
Percival, J. G., 335. 
Person, William, 3-5. 
Peter, Mrs., 275, 276. 
Peters, Judge, 325, 326. 
Phillips, Judge, 2. 
Phillips, Wendell, 366. 
Pickering, Timothy, 324-327. 
Pierce, Franklin, 375. 
Popkin, John S., 33, 34. 
Potter, Elisha R., 276, 279, 381 
Powell, Mrs., 145. 
Prescott, James, 46. 
Purdy, Mr., 97, 98. 
Putnam, Colonel, 142. 



Q. 

Quincy, Judge Edmund, 81. 
Quincy, Josiah, [H. U. 1728], 82. 
Quincy. Josiah [H.U. 1790], 245, 
361, 363. 



R. 

Randolph, John, 98-100, 209- 
229. 



Randolph, Tudor, 210. 

Reed, James, 24. 

Reed, William G., 4, 5. 

Richards, Dr., 384. 

Ryk, Admiral, 157-173, passim. 



S. 



Saxe- Weimar, Duke of, 157-173, 

passim. 
Sergeant, John, 203. 
Smith, B., 93. 
Smith, Hiram, 384. 
Smith, Joseph, 376-400. 
Snider, Elder, 394. 
Stetson, Caleb, 44. 
Stockton, Robert F., 230-239. 
Storer, Ebenezer, 64. 
Storer, Mrs., 53, 64, 65. 
Storrs, Henry R., 286, 287. 
Story, Joseph, 188-206, 366. 
Stuarty General, 293. 
Stuart/ Gilbert, 82-85. 
Sullivan, William, 322, 323. 



T. 

Thaxter, Joseph, 132. 
Thorndike, Colonel, 139. 
Tichenor, Governor, 70. 
Ticknor, George, 22, 116, 117. 
Troup, Governor, 208. 
Tyler, John, 397. 



u. 

Upham, Charles W, 16, 293. 



V. 

Van Buren, Martin, 353, 357, 

358, 371. 
Van Rensselaer, Catherine, Miss, 

270. 
VanTromp,107, 159. 



404 



INDEX OF NAMES. 



w. 

Wadsworth, Daniel, 134. 
Wallenstein, 117. 
Walsh, Robert, 300. 
Ware, Henry, 107, 159. 
Warren, Charles H., 176. 
Warren, J. C, 359. 
Washington, Bushrod, 244, 245. 
Webster, Daniel, 46-48, ft 32, 136- 

139, 249, 250, 254-259, 265, 

266, 267, 281, 282. 



Wells, E. M. P., 5, 6. 
Wheaton, Henry, 203 
White, Mrs. J. M., 268. 
Whitney, George, 69. 
Whitney, Peter, 61. 
Williamson, Mrs., 145. 
Wirt, Mrs. William, 268. 
Wirt, Miss, 268. 
Withington, William, 54 e 
Worth, William J., 69. 



'